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What is a Power of Attorney?

27 October 2021

Lauren Smith

If you are worried that in the future you might lose mental capacity to make important decisions for yourself, or you might receive medical treatment that could affect your decision making, you may want to consider creating a legal document known as a Power of Attorney to appoint family members, friends or professionals to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself in the future. If you fear that the mental capacity of a loved one may be reducing, you may want to consider supporting them to make their own Power of Attorney.

Here at Taylor Bracewell Solicitors, our legal experts can assist you in creating a Power of Attorney document and helping you decide who you should appoint to make decisions on your behalf. Planning for your future and any eventualities that may occur is essential in ensuring that you are protected, and the emotional toll taken on your family is decreased. Inheritance disputes of all kinds can be difficult for families to navigate, so ensuring that you have a qualified team on your side to implement effective dispute resolution can make all the difference.


Different Types of Power of Attorney’s

There are three main types of Power of Attorney, and you can set up more than one should you wish to. An Ordinary Power of Attorney covers decisions made about your property and financial affairs when you have mental capacity, and is a suitable choice if you only require someone to act on your behalf for a temporary period, such as if you are overseas. A Lasting Power of Attorney (unlike an Ordinary Power of Attorney) can still be used by your Attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare – and each type gives your Attorney(s) the power to make decisions regarding those issues. You do not need to make both types but most people normally do.

Enduring Powers of Attorney were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney in October 2007. Enduring Powers of Attorney made before that date remain valid but it only gives Attorneys the power to make decisions regarding your property & financial affairs and not your health & welfare and if you have an Enduring Power of Attorney you may want to discuss this with us to ensure it still meets your needs.


Why Would I Need a Power of Attorney?

The fundamental reason why someone may need a Power of Attorney is so that somebody of their choice can make decisions on their behalf where their own ability to make decisions is restricted due to physical or mental incapacity.

A Power of Attorney may need to be used after a long period of illness but a sudden and unexpected traumatic event could occur which means that someone needs an Attorney to start making decisions for them immediately.

If someone has not made a Power of Attorney and gets to a point where they no longer have capacity to make one, nobody has any legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (not even their spouse or civil partner) and a third party such as a local authority could try to be appointed by the Court to manage their property & financial affairs.

At Taylor Bracewell we believe that making a Power of Attorney is as important as making a Will. you can find out more about our services here.  


To find out more, or to book a consultation, please fill out our online form here.