A Power of Attorney is a legal document allowing you to appoint in advance, someone you know and trust as your “Attorney”. This means that if in the future you lose capacity, whether through age, illness or in an accident, they can step in and deal with all of your day-to-day affairs – financial, property, health and welfare.
If you lose the capacity to deal with your affairs, but don’t have a Power of Attorney, your assets would effectively be frozen. The only option open to your family would be to petition the Court for a Guardianship or Intervention Order. This inevitably involves considerable additional – and unnecessary – expense, hassle and delay. Inconvenience, which your family could well do without, at an already stressful time.
By having a Power of Attorney, you ensure that:
- You decide who will deal with your affairs – not the Courts or Social Workers
- You know that if anything happens to you, the person you have chosen can step in and ensure you and your loved ones are looked after
- You have the peace-of-mind of knowing you have made proper provision – if the worst happens
- Your family are not left with a mess to sort out
How we can help
As professional Estate Planners, we regard a Power of Attorney as a key element of effective Estate Planning. It is important, not just for older people, as some think, but for everyone with assets or personal or business affairs for which they are responsible.
It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that if something happens to you, someone you trust can step in and ensure all your affairs are dealt with and your bills and other commitments are met as required.
What happens if you don’t have a Power of Attorney when you need one?
If you suffer from illness or incapacity which means you are unable to deal with your affairs, it means they are effectively frozen. Anything in your name, which you normally deal with yourself, will be affected.
Many assume that family members can just step in and sort things out. NOT SO! The ONLY option your family would have to allow them to deal with anything in your name would be to petition the Court to appoint a legal Guardian.
This would involve significant expense (average cost £3,000) and delay (typical timescale of up to a year). There is also the stress and hassle involved in the whole process.