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Why everyone should have a Power of Attorney

View profile for Sarah Begley
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A Power of Attorney is a very valuable document to have in place, allowing you to plan for the future when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. In this article, we look at why a Power of Attorney is something you should consider.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives a nominated person (an attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity. There are two types of Power of Attorney, an Ordinary Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is temporary, you will specify how long it is to last, and it focuses specifically on managing finances. An LPA will be in place until you pass away or it is otherwise revoked.

Types of LPAs

There are two different types of LPA:

  • Property and affairs LPA - This type of LPA allows your attorney to make decisions regarding your finances and property.
  • Health and welfare LPA - This enables your attorney to make decisions about your health and care.

I am young; why do I need a Power of Attorney?

When most people think of an LPA, they think of older people; therefore, if you are young, you might think you don’t need one. However, as we don’t know what lies ahead in life, it is a good idea to have an LPA in place, no matter how old or young you are. Circumstances can arise where you might need an attorney to make decisions on your behalf, such as an accident or illness that affect your mental capacity and ability to make your own decisions.

Who should I choose to be my attorney?

When choosing your attorney, you should consider it carefully. It is important as this person will act on your behalf and make life-impacting decisions. In your selection, you should discuss it with your chosen attorney, ensuring they understand the role they are agreeing to undertake.

Can I select more than one attorney?

You can choose more than one attorney, and it might be a good idea to do so. This is known as joint attorneys. If you are going to have joint attorneys, you must also consider how they will make their decisions - whether this is jointly and they work together or jointly and severally, where they can either work together or separately.

It is also a good idea to select replacement attorneys should your chosen attorneys be unable to carry out their role.

What happens if I do not have a Power of Attorney in place?

If you do not have an LPA in place and can no longer make your own decisions, your family or loved ones will have to apply to the court to appoint someone to manage your affairs. This process is expensive and time-consuming, particularly compared to drawing up an LPA - which is relatively simple to do. 

Contact our experts for further advice