The importance of having a power of attorney is paramount. As part of an overall estate planning exercise it should be the next thing considered after making a will.
Powers of attorney can be general powers of attorney but these can only be used while the person giving the authority has mental capacity.
We would, except in exceptional circumstances, encourage clients to make Lasting Powers of Attorney. These can be made in respect of property and financial affairs and also health and welfare. The authority granted under a Lasting Power of Attorney can continue even if a person loses mental capacity through ill health or in later life.
If an individual loses mental capacity it can be very difficult for a family to make decisions on their behalf in relation to their property and financial affairs or their health and welfare without having to make an application to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed. This can be both time-consuming and expensive.
As an alternative to a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney clients may consider making a living will. A living will enables a person to set out specific wishes regarding medical treatment in an end of life situation. Its scope is much narrower than that of a Lasting Power of Attorney. Advice is available to help clients choose the most suitable option.
All Powers of Attorney and living wills are usually prepared on a fixed fee basis.
What shall I do next?
For advice on creating a Lasting Power of Attorney please get in touch with our expert Wills, Trusts and Probate team at [email protected].