Power of Attorney: The What? Why? Who? When? How?
One of the most important legal services Golden Charter provides is to arrange Power of Attorney (POA) for clients. But a recent survey by Ipsos MORI show that 45% of people over the age of 45 don’t know about POAs; among those that do, less than 40% are interested in arranging one.
This fact prompted us to produce an infographic that answers the ‘What? Why? Who? When? How?’ of POA.
The most important thing to know is that a POA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf. Without a POA in place, there is no one with the legal right to represent a person who has lost mental capacity unless you apply to the Court.
Their financial affairs can’t be managed by anyone else and there is no one that has authority regarding their wishes for medical care or treatment. Their next of kin’s only option is to follow a lengthy and potentially costly legal process to be appointed as a deputy through the Court of Protection in England and Wales or a guardian through the Sheriff Court in Scotland.
Many people just don’t want to consider the fact that they could ever lose mental capacity. Some don’t want to tempt fate, but it is a sad fact that one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia according to Alzheimer’s Society.
Even among people interested in arranging a POA, almost a third say they will wait until they have been diagnosed with a condition that would affect their mental capacity. But once you lose mental capacity, you can no longer set up a POA.
Peace of mind
Arranging a POA now can bring peace of mind. You know that if, in the future, you become unable to make your own decisions, you have appointed someone you trust to look out for your interests. And for your attorneys, often family or friends, having the legal and practical power to manage their loved one’s affairs eases the burden of caring.
You can choose anyone to be an attorney, so long as they have mental capacity themselves, are over 18 and not bankrupt if they will be dealing with financial matters. The most obvious requirement is that they are trusted by the person arranging the POA, but they should also be able to handle the practical aspects of looking after your affairs - visiting the bank, or meeting with medical professionals.
There are two types of POA: one covers Health & Welfare, such as decisions around where you live, diet and medical care. The other covers Property & Finance, including paying bills, collecting income and benefits. Golden Charter provides either or both types, registered, for a set single fee of £695 for an individual and £995 for a couple.
Golden Charter arranges Power of Attorney for all sorts of people including many existing customers who already have other later life planning products like Wills, Trusts and funeral plans with us. Find out more by visiting Golden Charter's Power of Attorney service page or by calling us free on 0800 171 2967.