Powers of Attorney (Part 3) - Be Prepared
Here is the concluding article on powers of attorney with some final thoughts and encouragement. As with so many tasks in life making and registering a power of attorney IS not complicated if you know what you are doing, however there are traps for the unwary and the consequences of getting things wrong can be serious.
Not everyone who has need of a power of attorney has concerns about losing mental capacity, but Lasting Power of Attorney is now widely used to cover the greatest variety of circumstances. It is of increasing importance because life expectancy is increasing and with it the possibility of incapacity.
To make a power of attorney the donor has to have mental capacity and the document has to be countersigned by a nominated person. This nominated individual confirms that the donor fully understands the document that is being executed. Consequently, there may come a point beyond which a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be created and in those circumstances authority to administer someone’s financial affairs can only be given by the Court of Protection, a process which is time-consuming and expensive.
To all those reviewing their circumstances and preparing for later life and to those who face other challenges in life, my advice is not to leave creating a Lasting Power of Attorney until difficult circumstances arise, but to make these arrangements whilst still having the ability and inclination to make a decision as to who should look after their interests when they are unable to do so for themselves.
Remember, making a power of attorney is a precaution. Think of it as a fire extinguisher; it does not have to be used but is there for your protection if the worst does happen.
This article first appeared in the Sight Concern, Bedfordshire 'News and Views' magazine (June/July 2015). For further information please visit www.sightconcern.org.uk