Who should arrange a POA and when?
The simple answer to that question is everyone, because any one of us could lose the capacity to make decisions for ourselves at some point in the future.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf if you no longer have the mental capacity to do so yourself. Everyone hopes they will always be capable of looking after their own welfare, but the reality is that many of us will someday need help to make important decisions about our financial arrangements or healthcare.
Putting a POA in place means you get to choose who will have the authority 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. But according to a survey conducted by Golden Charter and YouGov, less than 10% of the British population have put POA protection in place for themselves.
When should people arrange a POA?
Now is the simplest answer to that question, but a recent survey by Ipsos MORI shows that 45% of people over the age of 45 don’t know about POAs and among those that do, less than 40% are interested in arranging one.
Many of us just don’t want to acknowledge the fact that we could ever lose mental capacity, despite the fact that Golden Charter’s YouGov survey showed that 57% of us admit to worrying about it.
The reality is, loss of mental capacity can occur anytime due to accident or illness, and one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia according to Alzheimer’s Society. Often, people say that they will wait until they have been diagnosed with a condition that would affect their mental capacity. But it’s important to realise that once you lose mental capacity, you can no longer set up a POA.
So doing it now, while you still have full mental capacity, is the only way to guarantee that the people you want have the authority to take care of your interests.
Golden Charter arranges Power of Attorney for a large variety of people, including many existing customers who already have other later life planning products like Wills, Trusts and funeral plans with us. For more information on POA, take a look at our comprehensive guide. Or find out more by visiting Golden Charter’s Power of Attorney service page or by calling us free on 0800 171 2967.