What is a Power of Attorney?

An attorney is someone who has the legal power to make decisions on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone to act on your behalf in particular financial or health related matters. This document can be prepared by a wills and estates solicitor, who can also provide advice on choosing a Power of Attorney.

What You Need to Consider when Choosing a Power of Attorney 

Having a Power of Attorney means someone else can make several types of life-changing decisions on your behalf. Therefore you should make sure you consider the following things.

1.  Choosing the Right Person

Your first instinct when nominating an attorney may be a close relative or friend. However, it is important to consider that they may have to make very tough decisions in the future. Choose someone who is mature and responsible. You should select someone you trust to put your own interests above their own.

2.  General Power of Attorney 

A general Power of Attorney is typically created for a specific task and/or with a specific expiry date. This Power of Attorney lasts while you have capacity (i.e. you are capable of making sound medical and/or financial decisions on your own behalf). It also lasts for the duration of the specific purpose/task for which the power was created. A common example of this is when a company appoints one director to sign all documents on the company’s behalf. Likewise if you appoint your solicitor to sign a contract on your behalf, you are appointing the solicitor as an attorney.

3.  Enduring Power of Attorney 

There may come a time in your life where you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions. An Enduring Power of Attorney appoints someone to attend to your personal financial and property related affairs once you lose mental capacity. The document must be prepared before you lose capacity, and can include things like selling your properties and managing your finances. An Enduring Power of Attorney is not used until you lose capacity.

To discuss your specific needs when choosing a Power of Attorney, and to prepare the documents that best suit you, please get in touch.