There are good number of reasons why a family might like to make arrangements for power of attorney. Some of these could be purely temporary but, in other cases, they may be more long-lasting or permanent arrangements. At its simplest, power of attorney allows a family member (or another appointed individual for that matter) take decisions on your behalf. The power is set out in a document which hands over the legal authority to make decisions on a wide range of issues, from care matters to those relating to finances. In many cases, the power of attorney is arranged for a trusted family member who is then able to legally act on your behalf should you lack the degree of mental capacity needed to make decisions in your own best interests. Often the arrangement is made in advance so that at some time in the future someone else can take over should you no longer want to make decisions on your own behalf or cannot do so.
Power of attorney comes in two forms, ordinary and lasting. The ordinary type is only valid while the person it relates to maintains the mental capacity needed to make your their own decisions, for example regarding their finances. This means the person acting on their behalf, the attorney, can take day-to-day decisions whilst allowing for these decisions to be monitored and for the power to be withdrawn, if wanted. Coles Solicitors will be able to help set up this sort of power of attorney and could even write in certain clauses so that the power you give to your attorney is limited in some ways. This typically might mean that only certain assets are covered, but not others. For example, you might allow access to your bank’s current account for them to be able to settle bills, but not allow access to your savings or hand over the right to sell your home.
Lasting power of attorney gives someone that you trust the full legal authority to deal with all your finances. This right may not be invoked at the moment, but it could be applied if you become unable to act in your interests in the future. Many families choose to set up lasting power of attorney at the time of writing or amending a will because it means that they can relax and enjoy their lives safe in the knowledge that family financial matters are future-proofed. It is also worth bearing in mind that lasting power of attorney can be made to control medical decisions, such as the medication you might access or even the best place to live, given your changing physical requirements. Typically a lasting power of attorney arrangement is undersigned by a professional person, such as a social work or a lawyer.