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Always Be Prepared

We all have good intentions to prepare for the future, preparing Wills, taking out life insurance.  Many of us may have heard about Powers of Attorney, but what actually is a Power of Attorney?

Is this something that you should be thinking about?

Panning for the future

It is very true that we do not know what life holds for us at the next turn. Every day we make decisions about our finances and welfare without even thinking about it. It is easy to get caught up in life and not plan for what would happen if we became unable to make such decisions. This is where a Power of Attorney comes into place.

Many people may put off considering a Power of Attorney, particularly during their younger years, but everyone should consider one. Sudden illnesses and accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of age.

What is the purpose of a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that sets out what you wish to happen in the future if you become incapable of looking after your own affairs due to ill-health. A Power of Attorney can give someone else permission to make decisions about your finances, property, health and personal welfare in the event that you are not able to make these decisions yourself. The person that you appoint - the attorney - should be someone that you trust, for example a family member or a friend, and can even be your solicitor. You can name more than one person to act as your Attorney.

The types of Power of Attorney

A Continuing Power of Attorney can include decisions about your property and financial matters. This can be used immediately and can continue if you become incapable.

A Welfare Power of Attorney relates to your future health and personal welfare and can only be exercised when you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself.

Both types of Power of Attorney can be granted in the one document.

What would happen if you did not have a Power of Attorney?

If you did not have a Power of Attorney in place and you became unable to look after your own affairs, nobody would have the right to act on your behalf as they would not have the legal authority to do so.

If this happened, your family or friends would have to go to Court to seek permission to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a lengthy process and can be extremely stressful for everyone concerned. For example, if you were in hospital and were unable to make decisions about your own welfare, you could not be discharged if you had not appointed an attorney. In this case, you could not be discharged until the Court had given somebody the permission to act on your behalf.

Contact us

For advice about Powers of Attorney and planning for the future please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client Solicitors today.