When asked this question, most people would say a member of their family or perhaps a close friend. It is common to assume that you can simply choose who you would want and that person or people will automatically be able to act for you in managing your affairs.
However, in order for someone to be able to act for you by law, they must be nominated by you under a formal and registered Lasting Power of Attorney.
Many people will consider making a Will during their lifetime which is very important to lay out what your wishes are when you pass away but it can be forgotten to also think about what would happen to you if you were still alive, but became unwell, whether that be physically or mentally. This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney becomes really important.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney that you can make;
- Property and Financial
- Health and Welfare
Each document enables you to nominate people who you would like to act for you as your attorneys should you ever become unable to make these decisions for yourself.
For example, under the Property & Financial document, your attorney may be able to access your bank account for you, pay your bills, manage your finances and even sell your property on your behalf if you became really unwell.
Under the Health & Welfare document, your attorney may be able to organise any medicine or care you receive and can also extend to speaking for you in respect of life sustaining treatment if you so wish.
Without having a legal and registered Lasting Power of Attorney, there is a risk that nobody would have the legal powers to act for you if you did become unwell.
Therefore they are as important if not more important than making your Will. The crucial thing is not to leave it too late.
If you become unwell and try and make a Lasting Power of Attorney at this point, then if you are not capable of doing this, because you are poorly, it may not be possible to put your Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. This can cause problems for you and your family at what is probably going to be a fairly distressing time.
In light of the recent situation due to Covid-19, many people are now taking more time to think about organising their affairs. This includes putting in place measures to protect them during their lifetime (Lasting Powers of Attorney) and also for when they pass away (Wills).
Here at Dodds Solicitors we offer free initial consultations to all of our clients where we can discuss everything with you and answer any questions that you may have on these subjects.