Powers of Attorney
Powers of Attorney are very useful to have as a safety net as we don’t know what the future has in store for us. They are relatively straight-forward to put in place and in our opinion when drafting your Will you should give serious consideration to putting in place a Power of Attorney.
There are two categories of Powers of Attorney, firstly Welfare Powers of Attorney which regulate the personal welfare of the granter, which would include deciding on accommodation, medical treatment, dress, diet and personal appearance. The Welfare Powers only come into force when the granter has lost capacity to decide these things for himself or herself.
The second type of Power of Attorney is called a Continuing Power of Attorney and this grants powers to deal with money matters and/or property. The Continuing Power of Attorney can be used as soon as the document is formally registered but if this is not the granter’s preference a statement will be included to the effect that it can only be used when the granter has lost capacity.
In order to grant a Power of Attorney it is a statutory requirement that when the Power of Attorney is created the granter is capable of understanding the nature of the powers he or she is conferring on his or her attorney(s). Often, we are approached by family members or friends of someone who, for example, has been suffering from dementia and it is too late for the Powers of Attorney to be put in place as the granter has lost capacity. This can be very frustrating for family and friends.
The majority of Powers of Attorney that we draft incorporate both categories.