Everyone knows they need to put a Will in place to ensure their wishes are carried out after their death.
Even so, more than 50% of people still don’t have a Will (find out why you need a Will here). However, the percentage of people who don’t have a Power of Attorney in place is even higher and it seems there are many people who don’t know how important they are.
Powers of Attorney, are they still relevant?
A generation or so ago, a Power of Attorney was a little-used document as there was simply less need for them than there is today. These days, as people are now living longer and are generally healthier, there is an increasing risk for everyone of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s or suffering a stroke or any long-term mental or physical condition that can leave you without the mental or physical capacity to look after yourself.
These days, having a Power of Attorney in place for you and your family is as vital and important a part of any plan for the future as it is to have a Will, a Funeral Plan or an insurance policy.
You may already be discussing with your family, or at least thinking about, whether or not you need a Power of Attorney. You may be concerned about a loved one and how you will look after them if they lose mental or physical capacity to look after themselves. You may not be aware at all about how important having a Power of Attorney can be, but you’ve heard about them and want to know more.
In this article, we answer the following questions about Powers of Attorney:
- Do I need a Power of Attorney?
- When do I need a Power of Attorney?
- What does a Power of Attorney do?
- What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
- How do I make a Power of Attorney?
Please read the article to find out all about Powers of Attorney and why everyone needs to put them in place as early as possible, but if you want to have a free, no obligation chat about Powers of Attorney, please call one of our friendly team on 0161 749 9000 / 07572 373 813 or e-mail us at [email protected] and ask for a call back.
Do I need a Power of Attorney?
Everyone needs a Power of Attorney in case something happens to them that means they are unable to look after themselves and/or make decisions for themselves.
A Power of Attorney is one of the most important things you can do to protect your future and the future of your loved ones. It’s as vital as having a Will in place and it’s as valuable as any other “insurance policy” that you have. The potential consequences of not having a Power of Attorney in place can be far-reaching, significant and potentially disastrous.
In the future, due to illness, a degenerative condition or injuries caused by an accident, you may become unable to make decisions or take care of yourself. This may also happen to a loved one. These decisions and actions may relate to your finances or your health. If you cannot make decisions and take actions for yourself, very little can be done to take care of your finances or property or make decisions about your health and welfare. However, you can appoint someone to make these decisions and take these actions on your behalf. This can only be done by using a Power of Attorney.
Powers of Attorney are legal documents that allow people to nominate someone they know, for example a member of their family, a close friend or loved one or a business associate, to act on their behalf.
A Power of Attorney is like an insurance policy. You hope you will never have to use it, but if you have one it will save your loved ones an awful lot of stress and it will make looking after you much, much easier.
When do I need a Power of Attorney?
Unfortunately, although we don’t like to think of these things, a life-changing illness or injury can happen at any time and even dementia and Alzheimers can happen earlier than we think. If a Power of Attorney isn’t in place at the time of the illness or injury, then it may be too late to put one in place. Therefore, it’s always better to put a Power of Attorney in place as early as possible so that you avoid the risk of leaving it too late and so that you and your loved ones are fully covered if you become ill or suffer an injury.
In order to make a Power of Attorney, it has to be in place before any issues arise. This is because when you make a Power of Attorney, you must be able to understand fully what it is you are doing and the implications of doing it. If you wait until you are no longer capable of making or expressing your own decisions you will not be able to make your Power of Attorney.
What does a Power of Attorney do?
A Power of Attorney protects you and your loved ones should you become ill or suffer a life-changing injury and you are left unable to look after yourself or make decisions for yourself.
A Power of Attorney allows a nominated person (or persons) to deal with your finances on your behalf, for example with banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies etc or deal with your health and welfare issues on your behalf, for example with doctors, hospitals, care homes etc.
What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
Without a Power of Attorney, your loved ones, even your husband or wife, cannot deal with banks, insurance companies, doctors, care homes etc on your behalf. Your loved ones will have no option other than to apply to the Court of Protection for a Judge to make these decisions for you. This process is complex, lengthy and costly. The process to put a Power of Attorney in place, with the advice and assistance of a specialist Solicitor, is straightforward, quick and relatively inexpensive.
If it is too late to put a Power of Attorney in place, Leech & Co can assist you or your loved ones with an application to the Court of Protection – please see our website here for full details and feel free to contact us for a chat about what to do next on 0161 749 9000 / 07572 373 813 or e-mail us at [email protected] and ask for a call back.
How do I make a Power of Attorney?
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
- Finance and Property
- Health and Welfare
Each type deals with different matters and there are important issues to consider for each one. You can take out one type of Power of Attorney only, but taking out both types is recommended because it means you and your loved ones are fully covered whatever may happen in the future and with whatever sorts of decisions and actions need to be taken.
There is full guidance provided on the website of the Office of the Public Guardian here –
Office of the Public Guardian – GOV.UK – and it is possible to complete the forms and the process yourself. However, we would always recommend obtaining the advice and assistance of a specialist Solicitor to take out a Power of Attorney.
This will make the process quicker and easier for you and will ensure that you are fully informed about the decisions that need to be taken, that you are aware of the issues that need to be considered and that the application forms are completed and registered correctly.
The Power of Attorney needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and there is a fee to pay for each Power of Attorney of £82.00.
What to do now?
A Power of Attorney is essentially a one-off insurance policy. You would hope never to have to need it, but if you do, you and your loved ones are fully protected and secure. It is better to have Powers of Attorney in place and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
Powers of Attorney are the same as any insurance policy, for example to protect you against something going wrong to your home or car or phone or holiday etc. – you hope you never to have to use the policy, but you know you want to be protected by it should the worst happen. If you plan ahead and put a Power of Attorney in place now, you and your loved ones will be fully protected and be in full control of what happens to your health and finances if the worst should happen.
For full details about Powers of Attorney, please see our page here, but if you would just like to chat to us about Powers of Attorney, please call us on 0161 749 9000 / 07572 373 813 or click here for a call back.
We are more than happy to answer your questions and talk you through the process of making a Power of Attorney.