Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a written document in which a person (Granter) can grant powers to another person (Attorney) to handle their financial affairs and welfare matters. It is normally activated in the event that the granter becomes incapable of making decisions regarding their own affairs and this is verified by a doctor or suitably qualified medical professional.
Who can make a Power of Attorney?
Anyone who is capable of understanding the nature and extent of a power of attorney can make a Power of Attorney provided they are over 16 years old. They will be required to meet with a solicitor or doctor and be able to demonstrate their understanding of the Power of Attorney and that they have considered the consequences of granting these powers to another person.
An undischarged bankrupt cannot make a Power of Attorney which grants powers to another to deal with their financial and property affairs. They can, however, grant welfare powers which covers matters such as where the granter will live and their medical care.
Why should I grant a Power of Attorney?
If you lose capacity then there is no-one legally entitled to make decisions for you unless you have already granted a Power of Attorney. This means that family members will not be able to deal with your finances, property and your personal welfare. In these cases, a family member normally applies for Guardianship (see Guardianship section) through the courts. This can be expensive and very stressful as the process can take a long time. The appointed guardian will also have fairly stringent responsibilities to submit annual accounts and reports to the Office of the Public Guardian. There is also the possibility that the guardian is not the person you would have chosen to manage your affairs and they may make decisions you would not have wanted.
This can be avoided by granting Power of Attorney to a trusted family member or friend to make these important decisions on your behalf.
For further information or to arrange an initial meeting please call our Stepps office or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org