Using the Power of Attorney can be a valuable legal tool, and when looking towards the future it is useful to consider it as a viable option to be used in a number of eventualities.
Power of Attorney means that someone nominated by the ‘principal’ is able to make legal decisions with the same authority as the ‘principal’ themselves. The Attorney can deal with all kinds of situations, from property sales, signing contracts or medical issues, and in the document outlining the Power of Attorney bestowed upon them there should be clear definitions of the extent of their influence.
An Attorney can be any trusted person over the age of eighteen years old, as long as they are not themselves bankrupt and are deemed to be mentally capable. It is their legal duty to handle decision making in representation of the opinions that the ‘principal’ is no longer able to provide.
In the United Kingdom, Power of Attorney is most commonly used in instances where one party has become physically or mentally unable to manage their own affairs, for any number of reasons including infirmity and health conditions. In these instances, someone with the right of a Lasting Power of Attorney would be able to look after the person’s official business, including financial matters and personal issues such as medical care.
Lasting Power of Attorney is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, and once registration is completed, the Attorney will be able to make significant decisions on the other person’s behalf. In the event of mental deterioration, it can often be a lengthy and expensive process to apply to the Court of Protection in order to have a Deputy appointed to manage affairs: having previously arranged a trusted individual to take Power of Attorney can save time and money at this difficult time.
It can be an unpleasantly drawn out procedure for carers to apply for the Deputy status, whereas Lasting Power of Attorney can be established well in advance, at any time when the individual still has sufficient faculty to make such a decision.
Due to the fact that the Power of Attorney carries such significance, there are certain legal requirements necessary in completing the documentation and it should not be undertaken light-heartedly. Using somebody such as the people at Breens Solicitors means you’ll be looked after and guided all the way through your documentation, even if they don’t help you with the actual power of attorney proceedings.
The Attorney is granted major responsibility over someone’s wellbeing, so must be a person who is trusted to work in the best interests of the ‘principal’ party. It is always wise to discuss this option with an experienced solicitor before coming to any decisions. Be aware this is not something that should be taken lightly, nor is it a process that is easy to complete or indeed provided for all. Having the power of attorney over a person or estate is one of the most important roles you can hold.