Increasing interest in Powers of Attorney due to the coronavirus pandemic

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which an individual appoints someone to make decisions and act on their behalf either immediately, at some point in the future or if they become incapable. The person who grants the Power of Attorney is called a granter and the person who is appointed is called an attorney.

There are three types of Powers of Attorney: Welfare Power of Attorney, Continuing Power of Attorney and Combined Power of Attorney.

Welfare Power of Attorney: relates to personal well-being and include powers such as deciding where you live, what care or medical treatment you receive or even the power to raise legal actions relating to your personal welfare.

Continuing Power of Attorney: relates to property and finances and includes powers such as buying or selling property, opening, closing or operating bank accounts or pay bills.

Combined Power of Attorney: includes both welfare and continuing powers and is the most popular type of Power of Attorney.

The minimum age for granting a Power of Attorney is 16 and the granter requires to have full legal capacity.

The granter can appoint anyone over the age of 16 such as family member or friend. It is recommended to have more than one attorney or a substitute attorney who will act in the event of the original attorney’s incapacity, renunciation or death. You can appoint one person to make decisions regarding your personal welfare and another to act in connection with your finances. It is important to note that a person who has been declared bankrupt cannot be appointed as your continuing attorney.

The importance of having a Power of Attorney cannot be overestimated. Having a Power of Attorney protects your loved ones from the future expense and distress involved with applying to the local court to have them appointed as your guardian if you become incapable as a result of an illness or accident. As we have seen this year as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, the unexpected can happen at any age.

If you need advice on making a Power of Attorney or wish a confidential meeting, please contact Caritas Legal on 01383 431 101 or lornabrown@caritaslegal.co.uk.

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