Powers Of Attorney – why you should arrange one NOW
A common answer to the question “Do you have a Power of Attorney?”, is, “I don’t need one just now.” But that’s exactly when you should arrange a Power of Attorney. Because, if you leave it until you really do need one, it will be too late. One of the main advantages of a Power of Attorney is that it allows you to choose who will look after your affairs – both financial and welfare – if you lose capacity. But you must have capacity to arrange a Power of Attorney. So it’s never too early to arrange a Power of Attorney.
But surely your family can act for you?
More than 80% or 41.6 million Brits mistakenly believe that their spouse or relatives will automatically be allowed to make decisions about their health care needs if they were to be incapacitated. However, they are mistaken. Without a Power of Attorney, the family can find it impossible to engage with the medical profession and make decisions on their loved one’s behalf. And this is even truer if you are not in a legally recognised relationship.
And without a Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones may not be able to access your assets or manage your financial affairs.
If you have already lost capacity, the only way to organise this is through a Court of Protection order in England and Wales or a Guardianship order in Scotland. That leaves the authorities to decide who is to look after your affairs.
It also means the authorities will make any decisions regarding your health care needs, including any nursing assistance you may require. They will also choose when you go into care and where you’ll get your care. They will assess you and your family’s ability to pay for the care home fees. This can have a big impact on your estate and any monies left for your loved ones.
By setting up a Power of Attorney, you will give your family members the authority to make important decisions about your health, wellbeing, and financial affairs. You will also be able to express your wishes and ensure that all your affairs are managed by the person you choose.