The term ‘power of attorney’ means legal permission that gives an appointed person the power to act for someone else. Such a person (or ‘agent’) can be given broad (or lasting power of attorney) or limited authority to act for a certain period. The two primary types of POAs are for financial matters or medical care.
A medical power of attorney gives the agent the right to act on your behalf due to your mental or physical incapacity. For example, the agent may need to make decisions about your daily routine (washing, dressing, or eating), medical care, moving into a care home or life-sustaining treatment. Such a person may also need to pay bills, carry out banking transactions, deal with government or retirement benefits, and more.
A financial power of attorney can be permanent or a temporary situation. For example, someone working overseas may set a POA for their affairs at home while they are away. You may need someone to represent you in a real estate closing in another city. Perhaps you are in hospital and only need someone to pay bills for a limited time.
However, power of attorneys is most commonly established when someone is elderly or faces a long-time, severe health crisis.
When to get a medical power of attorney in place
The best time to obtain a POA is when your loved one can still legally agree to it. This way, the documents and control can be set up while considering the person’s wishes, and everyone will be happy with the decision in the long run. It is possible to get a Court of Protection Order if someone no longer has capacity, but the process is much more difficult. It can be stressful and expensive and lead to disagreements within families. Whatever your situation, we can help. Robertsons Solicitors can help you see your options in best- and worst-case scenarios. You should also consider insuring your Will is up-to-date when drafting your POA.
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