A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal document which gives authority to another person or persons to manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf.
In the unfortunate situation that you are no longer able to manage your own affairs in the future, due to illness or old age for example, then having a PoA previously signed will ensure things are taken care of in the way you would expect. A PoA can also be used to allow a representative to act for you in your absence, for example, if you are leaving the UK for an extended period.
Anyone you wish can be appointed as your PoA, usually this would be a family member or close friend. Peterkins trustee company, Peterkins Trustees Limited, can also be appointed to act on your behalf.
If you become debilitated and do not have a PoA, one or more family members or friends will be required to initiate a Court process to become a Guardian. This is a timely and costly process: usually upwards of 6 months and costs minimum £3,000. By having a Power of Attorney, you can avoid this.
It is usually recommended that any individual who owns an asset should have a Power of Attorney.
At Peterkins, we strongly advise that clients put a PoA in place, regardless of age or health. A Power of Attorney can only be granted when you have the mental capacity to do so, therefore it should be done sooner rather than later so it can act as a safety net.
There are two main types of powers which are used by your Attorney, these are detailed as follows:
|Continuing Powers||Dealing with financial matters and assets, such as banks and insurance company communications, finalising tax returns and dealing with tax planning issues, and decisions about property.|
|Welfare Powers||Decisions in relation to your health and wellbeing, for example, the type of care which may be suitable and medical treatments.|
A Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time - providing you have the mental capacity to do so.
Your Power of Attorney must be registered with the OPG (Office of the Public Guardian) before it can be used.
The process usually takes a few weeks for a PoA to be signed, depending on how quickly you respond to our initial draft. Once the PoA is signed by you, the OPG’s target is to complete registration within 30 working days, although this can be brought forward to 5 working days if the circumstances are urgent. For example, if you require to be moved into assisted accommodation and payment to the care provider needs to be made as soon as possible to facilitate this.