Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a written document that allows you to give legal authority to family members, friends or professionals to make decisions on your behalf relating to your financial and/or welfare affairs, should you be unable to make these decisions yourself due to incapacity. The people you nominate under the Power of Attorney are known as your Attorneys. There is no limit on the number of people you appoint (although it would be advisable to have no more than three or four) and you can appoint a substitute Attorney if the person first nominated cannot act for any reason. The person appointed to look after your financial affairs does not need to be the same as the person appointed to look after your welfare but often they are.

Powers of Attorney can include powers such as: dealing with your bank accounts; pension; payments; investments and deciding where you should live, so it is important to consider making one as anyone can lose capacity at any age through injury or illness.

There are three different types of Power of Attorney depending on what powers you wish your attorneys to have, these are:

Continuing Power of Attorney – this is used in relation to making decisions about your property and financial affairs.

Welfare Power of Attorney – this is used in relation to making decisions about your health and welfare matters.

Combined Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney – which deals with all your property, financial and welfare matters.

If you want to give continuing powers, you need to decide when the continuing attorneys are to begin acting for you. This could be right away as soon as the Power of Attorney is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian or at a later date i.e. in the event of your incapacity. On the other hand, Welfare Power of Attorneys only begin if you become incapable of making decisions about your own welfare.

Your attorney should be someone you trust and who knows what your wishes and feelings are. It is important to make sure you have the same understanding about how and when your Power of Attorney is to be used. You can appoint anyone as your attorney over the age of 16. If you are giving your attorney continuing powers they must not have been declared bankrupt. It is important to note that your attorneys must confirm that they are willing to act in this capacity and it is a role that comes with significant responsibility.

If you would like us to draft a Power of Attorney for you, or you would like to speak to one of our solicitors for more information on Power of Attorneys, please contact our Wick office on 01955 604188 or alternatively email fcf [AT] bbmsolicitors [DOT] co [DOT] uk.