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Power of Attorney

That’s something for “older people” right?

Like Wills, and indeed many other legal documents, Powers of Attorney are not the sort of matters you wish to consider, or indeed with all the worries of daily life, have time to devote your attention to.  

The impact of a disabling event is devastating for both the individual and the wider family. Overnight, sources of income may be inaccessible, access to savings too.  If the person involved has lost the ability to give instructions to their bank or lender, money which they could use may be frozen or their home may be at risk until court action is taken to appoint a guardian to act on their behalf.  At that stage, if the individual lacks the capacity to understand the effects of granting the Power of Attorney, it is too late to appoint an attorney. 

A guardian appointed through the court would not necessarily be the person you would wish to act on your behalf.  Contrast that with the person who has granted a Power of Attorney, they will have nominated a person or persons of their choice to act on their behalf.  They can also nominate substitute attorneys, should for whatever reason, their first choice(s) be unable to act.  

There may be a fear that by granting a Power of Attorney you are giving away your freedom to deal with things as you wish.  However, this is not the case because even though the Power of Attorney is signed and may also have been registered with the Office of the Public Guradian, it will only come into force either when you consider that you need help to deal with financial matters and perhaps assistance with personal welfare or when doctors decide that you no longer have the capacity to carry out tasks on your own behalf.  Provided the Power of Attorney was signed while you had capacity to understand its provisions, it will remain effective for your lifetime, though you retain the power to recall it at any time before incapacity strikes.

That’s probably enough gloom for today, just give it some thought.  Look on Power of Attorney as an insurance policy, you don’t want to make a claim, but it’s a helpful document to have when the unexpected strikes.

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This legal briefing is intended to provide the recipient with a brief outline of the main areas of law to which it applies. It is not to be regarded as an exhaustive overview of the area of law in question. Readers are advised not to apply or rely on any of the information contained therein without first seeking legal advice. Should you have any queries in relation to this briefing or would like clarification on any particular area covered please feel free to contact us.


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Amy Watson


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