Power of Attorney Solicitors
A Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to appoint a person (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf. There are many reasons why you might appoint an Attorney, however, the predominant reason is to prepare for the possibility of becoming incapable of making such decisions for yourself. The decisions which your Attorney will have the authority to make primarily concern your financial affairs.
Like a Will a Power of Attorney should completed with the advice of a solicitor who has experience in estate planning. Our friendly team knows how significant this decision can be. We will assess your situation to give you the best possible advice and the peace of mind of knowing that someone you trust will be able to make important decisions for you when you become incapable of making them yourself.
Why prepare a Power of Attorney?
Nominating an Attorney is an important way of ensuring your financial security. You are the only person who is able to make decisions about your financial affairs. Therefore, if you are unable to make such decisions your assets are essentially frozen.
A Power of Attorney can be a flexible way of allowing you to ensure that aspects of your financial affairs are managed while you’re temporarily overseas or allow you to prepare for the time when you no longer have the capacity to do these things for yourself.
Types of Power of Attorney
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
- General Power of Attorney
- Enduring Power of Attorney
A general Power of Attorney ceases to have effect when you become incapacitated or otherwise incapable of giving instructions to your Attorney. Therefore, a general POA may be appropriate for temporary periods when you do not have access to your assets (for example, where you are overseas).
An enduring POA, on the other hand, continues to have effect once you become incapacitated. It becomes appropriate when preparing for the possibility of future long-term or permanent incapacitation due to mental or physical illness.
What decisions can the Attorney make?
Generally speaking, the Power of Attorney will extend to matters concerning your finances and assets; however, you can specify the scope of the authority which the Attorney will have. Your Attorney will be bound by the instructions which you give them in the Power of Attorney.
There are certain decisions which your Attorney cannot make for you. These include decisions relating to your Will, consenting to a marriage or adoption, voting on your behalf, and appointing someone else as your Attorney.
Can I appoint more than one attorney?
Yes, you may choose the number of attorneys whom you appoint. You can also decide whether they are to act jointly or severally or both jointly and severally. This refers to how the decisions are made and what happens if one attorney becomes incapacitated. For example, if the attorneys are only appointed jointly, the inability of one attorney at act will prevent the other attorney from acting also.
Who should I appoint as my Attorney?
Your Attorney should be someone whom you can trust to take care of your financial affairs and act in your best interests. Often this will be a spouse or child, however, you are free to choose who to appoint subject to some restrictions (for example, the person must be over 18).
When does the Attorney’s power begin and end?
You can choose when the Attorney’s power is to begin and end. If you do not designate when the power is to commence, the power is conferred when the document is signed.