A Power of Attorney is a deed which allows a person to grant another individual of his choosing, whether it be a family member, trusted friend or solicitor, the power to look after their interests and affairs. More than one person can be appointed or, where there might be a risk that the first appointed person could predecease the granter of the deed a substitute attorney can be appointed. The powers granted are specific to each person’s needs and to reduce the risk of misuse.
Powers which may be granted are:
- Powers to manage finances/property.
- Powers to make decisions in regard to personal welfare. These powers can only be exercised when the person is determined as lacking the ability to make the decisions for themselves.
It is possible for a single deed to contain both types of power.
Most commonly we are instructed by elderly clients who are keen to ensure that a trusted friend or relative will be able to handle their affairs should they lose capacity or be unable to deal with matters themselves due to infirmity. Often, we will be instructed to prepare a Power of Attorney at the same time as a Will. However, Powers of Attorney are equally useful where a person has received a terminal diagnosis or a diagnosis of an illness that may in future affect their capacity; or where a person is likely to be unable to deal with a particular matter personally due to anticipated absence.
Powers of Attorneys are flexible and may be given temporarily or on a long-term basis according to the person’s needs.
Most Powers of Attorney will be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We will be able to provide you with expert advice on your needs and the powers you should consider granting right through to the registration of the deed with the Public Guardian. In certain circumstances are able to act under a Power of Attorney and able to provide Attorneys with advice on their actings and obligations when acting under a Power of Attorney.
Taking timely advice will ensure that the person you want to act in these circumstances has the power to do so. Once a person begins to display signs of incapacity they may not be able to grant a Power of Attorney or we may need to obtain a medical report before taking instructions to prepare such a deed.