What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney authorises another person or persons (your Attorney) to act on your behalf. The Attorney may act in the management of your property, financial and business affairs, and/or various aspects of your personal welfare, medical treatment and care. Typically, a Power of Attorney is used when a person becomes so infirm or aged that they are unable to handle their affairs on a daily basis. It can also be used on a temporary basis – for example, if a trip abroad is anticipated.
Why should you have a Power of Attorney prepared?
Preparing a Power of Attorney is like taking out an insurance policy; it is a way in which you can protect yourself and your interests in the future. If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and are unable to look after your own affairs, an application needs to be made to the courts to appoint a guardian. This can be a lengthy and expensive process.
It’s important to appoint someone whom you trust and who is capable of making informed decisions about your affairs. Usually people favour a close family member or close relative, sometimes they appoint their solicitor.
Having a Power of Attorney prepared gives peace of mind that your affairs will be taken care of by people you trust. They have become an essential tool in the proper management of people’s affairs, and as such Miller Hendry advises every client to consider having one in place. The Power of Attorney must be granted at a time when you are able to fully understand the nature and effect of the deed you are granting.
What types of Power of Attorney are there?
• Financial Power of Attorney This covers your financial and business affairs. It is often used by Attorneys to take care of day-to-day matters such as paying bills.
• Welfare Power of Attorney This empowers a third party to deal with particular aspects of your welfare, care provisions and medical treatment. It only becomes effective if you are unable to make decisions yourself.
• Combined Powers of Attorney These can be prepared to include both financial and welfare powers.