Reasons Why You Should Appoint a Power of Attorney (POA)
If you think you may lose mental capacity (the ability to make decisions for yourself) in the future, it’s a good idea to start looking into your options. Appointing a power of attorney is a good place to start; this allows you to choose someone close to you to make financial and/or medical decisions on your behalf once you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
There are a few different types of powers of attorney, with each having different rules on what they can and can’t make decisions on, which we will run through in this article.
We will also discuss the main reasons why you may want to appoint a power of attorney. From having a say in who gets to make these decisions on your behalf, to having peace of mind, here’s why we think it’s sensible to appoint a power of attorney.
You can appoint someone you trust
Who you appoint as your POA is entirely up to you, and you can even appoint more than one. If you do want more than one POA, you can decide who makes which decision or whether they have to make decisions together.
You can make your partner, friend, or a family member your POA. You can also choose for a professional, like a solicitor, to be your POA, although most people choose to have someone who knows them. This is because they will have a better understanding of the decisions the individual would have wanted.
Your finances will be looked after
If you’d like to give someone power over your financial decisions, a power of attorney can do this. You can allow them to make the following financial decisions on your behalf:
- Access to manage the individual’s bank account
- Paying bills on their behalf
- Make purchases for the individual
- Claim benefits if required
- Manage the person’s property, such as renting it out etc, or investments
They will make decisions affecting your day-to-day life
If you give your power of attorney the ability to make decisions over your health and welfare, they can decide the following:
- Where the individual will live
- What the individual will eat day to day
- Who the individual can have contact with
- The care and routine of the individual
- Medical care
- Can make decisions against a doctor’s suggestion if it is in the individual’s best interest
Peace of mind
Without a POA in place, it might be worrying to think about what will happen if you lose mental capacity and no one is aware of the decisions you would like to make on your behalf.
Whilst you still have mental capacity, you could speak with whoever you want to appoint as your POA to let them know what you would like from them. This way, you’ll know that you will be looked after and the correct decisions will be made for you.
You can be flexible
When you still have mental capacity, you can decide the extent to which your power of attorney can make decisions.
You can either give extensive or limited authority to make these legal, financial and health issues. You can therefore be flexible in what you would like your POA to have a say in.
Different types of POA include conventional, durable, springing and medical, all of which dictate the amount of power a POA has:
- Conventional: This is usually known as a limited power of attorney. It starts when it is signed and stops when you’re mentally unable to make decisions. It is usually used for a limited amount of time over certain decisions, such as if you are going to be abroad and need someone to sign a legal document for you whilst you’re away.
- Durable: This type of POA starts once it’s signed and lasts until the individual dies or it is cancelled.
- Springing: This type of POA is only valid for a specific event and must be carefully verified to make sure it is clear and easy to identify when this event takes place.
- Medical: This type is both a durable and springing type of POA. This means that it takes effect when specific medical conditions take place.
A POA is different to a will, so if you would like to make sure someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity, appointing a POA is the way to go.