Power of Attorney

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney is the right for an individual to entrust a close colleague or loved one with their decision making ability for an extended period of time. This is caused by a number of predicaments and can deal with various different issues.The power of attorney is the document that states permission for an appointed person to make decisions on someone else’s behalf.

The right to exclude oneself from decision-making has to be applied for via the Office of the Public Guardian, and only then can they legally act as an appointed trustee. This can be used for a number of reasons, including mental health issues, illness or even a busy schedule. Due to complications surrounding mental health issues and incapacity, in the UK, applicants will often try to achieve lasting power of attorney, which is ill effected by any extenuating factors. It usually occurs in two defined types.

Types of power of attorney

The first type of lasting power of attorney is regarding property affairs. In this instance, either one or many people are entrusted to take full charge of a tenant’s property. This can be down to a number of reasons, including disability, illness or inexperience in the field. Usually in the latter instance they would merely seek advice on the issues, however it is not unheard of to hand power of attorney to a professional on these occasions.

The other instance when someone would seek to hand the power of attorney to another individual is to look after his or her welfare. This word often promotes a preconception of ill health, however this is only one of the reasons that people hand over rights to make decisions on their welfare. Severe disability or during the recovery from an accident or stroke can be other occasions to which this is sought. In these cases the patient is in no state to make reasoned decisions themselves so they hand it over to a loved one or professional.

Who to give power of attorney to?

Choosing who or how many people to hand the power of attorney to can be exceedingly tricky. Not only are you making a huge decision yourself by entrusting them with the responsibility but it also can place a burden on them.

The best advice that we can give is to stick with people whom you trust entirely. Look at the state of their lives and how they conduct their finances before giving them the green light to have a go with yours. It is also occasionally a good idea to grant the privilege to more than one person.

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For more information on:

  • Why would you need power of attorney?
  • Disability
  • Illness