No one knows what the future holds. And while you hope to have a long and healthy life, one day you may need someone to make financial, health or care decisions for you. By setting up a Power of Attorney you can have peace of mind that someone you trust will act in your best interests should you be unable to do so.  You can then relax and enjoy a long and happy retirement knowing that your affairs are taken care of.

Power of Attorney - Couple Holding Hands

1. What is a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal document that lets you appoint someone to make these decisions on your behalf.

Appointing a family member or friend that you trust as a Power of Attorney (PoA) means they can make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. For example this can be caused by your mental capacity being reduced due to Dementia.

There are two different types of PoA: An Ordinary PoA and a Lasting PoA.

2. Ordinary Power of Attorney

An Ordinary Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal document that authorises one or more people to make decisions on your behave for a temporary period of time. This may be helpful if you are going on holiday or visiting hospital for a period of time and you feel that financial decisions may have to be made during this time.

 

You should be aware that an Ordinary PoA will automatically end if:-

  • You lose your mental capacity
  • They specific task mentioned has been fulfilled
  • You revoke the power
  • If the attorney dies or loses their own mental capacity

3. Lasting Power of Attorney

Unlike an Ordinary PoA a lasting PoA offers a longer term solution. There are two types of Lasting PoA; one for health and care decision; one for financial decisions. This option allows you authorise someone to make decisions for you should you lose your mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.

Special powers can be given to your attorney to decide on life-saving treatments.

Financial PoA’s must keep records of accounts and keep their money separate from yours.

4. Enduring Power of Attorney

You may have heard this term in the past. An Enduring Power of Attorney (PoA) was replaced with a Lasting Power of Attorney in 2007. However, if you or someone you know has signed an EPA this is still valid today and will maintain its validity until the day the power is revoked or the attorney dies.

5. What does a Power of Attorney actually do?

A Power of Attorney (PoA) must adhere to certain principles in order to ensure they are acting on your behalf in an ethical manner. They must allow you to make your own decisions as much as you possibly can. They are unable to override any decisions you make that they deem unwise. Other principles that your PoA must adhere to are:

  • They must encourage you to participate as much as possible
  • They must consider your beliefs and values
  • Know about any previous exceptions

6. Choosing a Power of Attorney

This decision should not be taken lightly. You are putting someone in control of your life and your finances, they must be someone you trust to make the right decisions for you. They can be anyone, a friend, family member, spouse or even a professional such as a solicitor.

You can appoint multiple attorneys in the same Lasting Power of Attorney. Before doing so it is important to consider their ability to work together, compromise and make important informed decisions.

7. What happens when you don’t appoint a Power of Attorney

When you don’t appoint a Power of Attorney (PoA) you can rely on the Court of Protection to make your decisions for you, should you be unable to make them yourself. Someone can apply to be your PoAPower of Attorney, although they will be termed a Deputy.

Deputy’s act as PoA’s and have to follow the same principles as Lasting Power of Attorneys.

8. The Problems with a Power of Attorney

Unfortunately, sometimes there can be problems or complications when appointing or even after you’ve appointed your Power of Attorney (PoA). Should this occur you can contact the Office of Public Guardians to submit your complaint. However, at Ready 4 Retirement we will endeavour to ensure that there are no issues with your Power of Attorney.