What is the purpose of a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint one or more trusted individuals to manage your affairs and act on your behalf, should you be unable to do so. This could be on a temporary or permanent basis. Your appointed attorneys will have the power to make important decisions on your affairs. You can appoint more than one Attorney - it is common to assign a Welfare Power of Attorney to one individual, and a Continuing Power of Attorney (for financial matters) to someone different.
Without a Power of Attorney, your loved one(s) will be unable to make key decisions on your behalf. Once you are incapacitated, you can no longer appoint them as attorneys, and they must instead apply for a Guardianship Order through the Courts. The process of applying for a Guardianship Order can be costly in terms of both time and money.
Registering A Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is drafted confirming attorney appointments, clarifying the individuals involved understand the nature and gravity of the document. The PoA is then signed by the granter and certified by a professional, such as a Solicitor or Doctor who can confirm capacity. The completed document is sent to the Office of the Public Guardian who issue a certificate of registration once completed. There is a registration fee to the Office of the Public Guardian required to complete this registration process.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Power of Attorney?
If you become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney, your family members will have to apply for a Guardianship Order through the courts. This can be a time consuming process consuming process and very costly. Once granted, the abilities of a Guardianship Order may not cover every aspect a Power of Attorney otherwise would. Whilst a Guardianship Order is a useful option, having a Power of Attorney in place ensures you have control of who is appointed as your attorney. When people lose capacity without a PoA, the local authority are often appointed as Guardians rather than family members. Having a PoA in place before it is necessary is the ideal course of action.
Applying for a Guardianship Order
If a loved one has become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney, a Guardianship Order is the only option to take control of their affairs. Applying for an order is a time consuming and difficult Court process, and requires expert guidance to submit accurately. At Kee Solicitors, we can help you navigate the process and apply successfully.