A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document allowing someone to act on your behalf and make decisions for you if you cannot do this yourself or no longer want to. You can have one for your personal welfare and another for your property and financial affairs if you wish.
Our previous blog looked at why you need a Power of Attorney but who do you choose as your Power of Attorney? This person or persons will be making decisions and managing your affairs for you if you cannot, so it is important to choose wisely.
Who can be a Power of Attorney?
You can choose your spouse as your Power of Attorney or another member of your family, such as a child or grandchild for example. If you’re not married then you can choose your partner or civil partner. You could ask a friend to be your Power of Attorney or you can appoint a professional, such as a solicitor.
How do I decide who my Power of Attorney should be?
Whoever you choose, they will be in a position of power and responsibility if the Power of Attorney is invoked. You need to consider who will respect your wishes if you are unable to make decisions or manage your affairs yourself. They will need to use their judgement to consider what you would want, often under difficult circumstances.
As a result, it is important you trust their judgement but also their ability to stand up for you, perhaps against medical advice should the situation arise. You should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I trust them implicitly?
- Are they capable of looking after their own affairs properly?
- Can they make decisions on my behalf?
- Will they make the right decisions about how my money is spent, where I live and how I am cared for?
Does a Power of Attorney need any set skills?
You may want to consider if they have the appropriate business experience to deal with your property and financial affairs, particularly if you have complex arrangements such as stocks and shares which may need selling, or a property portfolio requiring management. Your Power of Attorney may need to communicate with professionals and officials regarding your personal and financial affairs so you need to be confident they can do this.
Can I only appoint one Power of Attorney?
You can appoint one, two or several Power of Attorneys. If you choose more than one, you will need to decide if they will act jointly or jointly and severally.
Power of Attorneys who act jointly must make every decision together, so if a doctor calls one of them for a decision but cannot get hold of the other, then the decision is delayed until they can both decide.
If they act jointly or severally, one can make the decision without the other if necessary which may be of benefit if a quick decision is needed.
What do I do once I’ve decided?
Tell the person or persons you would like to be your Power of Attorney that you have made this decision. Explain to them why you have chosen them And give them time to think about it before making their decision whether to accept.
In the event they decide not to, consider who else you could choose and whether you now need to use a professional instead of someone you know. Whoever you choose, it is important to discuss your wishes with them so they can ensure these are met if required.
Putting a Power of Attorney in place
If you would like to discuss appointing a Power of Attorney or need to put a Power of Attorney in place, Flackwoods can help you.
As a new client, please contact us for 30 minutes free advice; you can call Ian on 01403 738777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.