Many of us don’t consider who would manage our affairs if we were no longer able to, but this is an important life planning point that should be given careful thought. Much like an insurance policy, a power of attorney may never be required, but there are consequences of not having one if you do lose mental capacity at some stage in your life.
You can appoint up to 4 people to deal with your Property and Financial Affairs, which may include but is not limited to bank accounts and/or investments, managing or selling property and paying outgoings. Your chosen attorney(s) can only act on your behalf in respect of your Financial Affairs either with your consent, or in the event that you lose capacity.
Decisions about Health and Welfare relate to matters such as where you might live, what you wear and eat. This is particularly important for elderly individuals that may need somebody to authorise a move into a care home. You can also provide the attorney(s) with directions about life sustaining treatment. A Health and Welfare power of attorney can only be relied upon if and when you have lost capacity.
If you are a business owner then you should also consider preparing a power of attorney for your business assets, if this is not provided for elsewhere.
The choice of attorney(s) is an important one, and you must appoint individuals that you trust to act in your best interests. It may be appropriate to appoint different attorney(s) for your Financial Affairs and your Health and Welfare.
Our team can guide you through the process, prepare the lasting powers of attorney for you and act as certificate provider if required. The powers of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to be valid and we can handle this aspect.
If you, or a loved one, lose capacity and do not have a lasting power of attorney, then an application must be made to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as a Deputy. This is a more time consuming process with greater costs involved. The local council can also be appointed as a Deputy, which is often a last resort