Q: MY HUSBAND has been diagnosed with dementia and can no longer manage his finances. We both prepared Enduring Powers of Attorney 10 years ago, appointing each other as our sole Attorneys. What do I need to do now?

A: In order for you to use the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) to make decisions about and manage your husband’s finances on his behalf, his EPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. You should do this immediately if he has started to lose mental capacity.

You will need to complete a prescribed notice and give it to your husband even though he may not understand what the form means. The same form must be sent to at least three of your husband’s ‘eligible’ family members; eligible meaning they must be 18 or older and have mental capacity.

Those to be notified are listed in priority starting with the spouse (even if they are the person applying to register the EPA), then children, parents, siblings etc. If there are less than three in a category, you must notify those in the next category.

If more than three, then all people within that category must be notified. All people notified then have 35 days to object to the application.

When you have notified the relevant people, you can apply to register. Your application must be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian, together with the original or a certified copy of the EPA and the registration fee of £82.

It can take eight to 10 weeks to complete the registration.

As you have an EPA appointing your husband as your sole Attorney you currently have no protection in place if you should lose mental capacity.

It would therefore be advisable to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), appointing another person or persons to be your Attorney.

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, ring GHP Legal on 01691 659194.