Do I really need a Power of Attorney?

NOTE: This post is more than 12 months old, and the information contained within may no longer be accurate.

Whilst you may not think you ever will the simple answer to this question is yes.

In my view, people generally consider Power of Attorney are for the ‘elderly’ who may not be able to make decisions in the imminent future. I would argue against this, no matter the age a Power of Attorney should be in place. To be blunt, what if you had an accident and were unable to make any decisions? You have young children, the accounts are in your name and your spouse needs access to money to live from or possibly pay health costs. This is one of many scenarios where a Power of Attorney would help in what can be very distressing times.

What is a Power of Attorney?

In summary, it is a legal document that allows an individual (or individuals) to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf. This could be because you are no longer able to, or no longer want to make your own decisions.

There are currently two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), these being:

  • Property and Financial Affairs (referred to as ‘financial decisions)– this lets an attorney manage all your financial affairs (this can include dealing with your bank accounts, paying bills, buying and selling property)
  • Health and Welfare (referred to as health and care decisions) – this lets an attorney make decisions about your health, care and welfare (this can include what medical treatment you have and whether you move in to a care home)

It is important to consider who you are asking to be your attorney as they could have control over how your money is spent and where you live. You do not have to select both types, you can have one or the other (or both).

The mis-understanding is that a Power of Attorney is expensive to set up with legal fees involved. In reality, you can obtain the relevant forms for a Power of Attorney on-line via the government website for the Office of Public Guardian. You do not need to consult a solicitor although taking professional advice can help to avoid any future problems.

Once the forms are completed, they must be registered with the Office of Public Guardian which can take up to 10 weeks and only then can the LPA be used. It costs £82 to register each LPA.

Whilst this is a whistle stop tour of Powers of Attorney, and there are other aspects that need to be considered, it shows that everyone should consider putting a Power of Attorney in place and to do so is not overly expensive.

At Wingate, we recommend a Power of Attorney is put in place together with an up to date Will. This can make life so much easier for those having to deal with a distressful situation and may help to make things a little easier.

If you are looking to future and want to build a financial plan please contact me to see how we can help you. We offer a holistic planning approach to take account of your overall financial situation and the goals you wish to fulfil.

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26 Jan 2024

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