Do I Need a Power of Attorney? – A lawyer’s experience

Did you know that around 50% of people don’t have a will?  We all know that we should put a Will in place to ensure our wishes are carried out after their death.


However, more people don’t have a Power of Attorney in place, and we’re pleased to have expert lawyer Matthew Connery from Leech & Co as a member of our Business Directory to explain that many people don’t know how important this could be for them.


Promoting Trafford asked for their expert advice on what a Power of Attorney means, and how it may be something for us all to consider (even though you may think it a little pessimistic or not needed right now).


Is a Power of Attorney still relevant?

As we now tend to live longer than we did a generation ago, and although we are generally healthier, there is an increasing risk of us suffering from conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, suffering a stroke or any long-term mental or physical condition that can leave you without the mental or physical capacity to look after yourself.


Therefore, having a Power of Attorney in place for you and your family is as vital and important a part of any plan for the future as it is to have a Will, a Funeral Plan or an insurance policy.  You may be concerned about a loved one and how you will look after them if they lose mental or physical capacity to look after themselves. You may not be aware at all about how important having a Power of Attorney can be, but you’ve heard about them and want to know more.


Do I need a Power of Attorney?

Matthew advises that we should all consider having a Power of Attorney in case something happens to them that means they are unable to look after themselves and/or make their own decisions.  It’s as vital as having a Will in place and it’s as valuable as any other “insurance policy” that you have. The potential consequences of not having a Power of Attorney in place can be far-reaching and significant.


If due to illness, a degenerative condition or injuries caused by an accident, you may become unable to make decisions or take care of yourself. This may also happen to a loved one.  If you’re unable to make decisions and take actions for yourself, very little can be done to take care of your finances or property or make decisions about your health and welfare. However, you can appoint a Power of Attorney to make these decisions and take these actions on your behalf.


A Power of Attorney is like an insurance policy. You hope you will never have to use it, but if you have one it will save your loved ones an awful lot of stress and it will make looking after you much, much easier.


When do I need a Power of Attorney?

A life-changing illness or injury can happen at any time, and even conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers can happen earlier than we think. If a Power of Attorney isn’t in place at the time of the illness or injury, then it may be too late to put one in place.


In order to make a Power of Attorney, it has to be in place before any issues arise. This is because when you make a Power of Attorney, you must be able to understand fully what it is you are doing and the implications of doing it. If you wait until you are no longer capable of making or expressing your own decisions you will not be able to make your Power of Attorney.


What does a Power of Attorney do?

A Power of Attorney protects you and your loved ones should you become ill or suffer a life-changing injury and you are left unable to look after yourself or make decisions for yourself.  This can include dealing with finances on your behalf, for example with banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies etc.  Or, it could be to deal with your health and welfare issues on your behalf, for example with doctors, hospitals, care homes etc.


What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?

Without a Power of Attorney, your loved ones, even your husband or wife, cannot deal with banks, insurance companies, doctors, care homes etc on your behalf. Your loved ones will have no option other than to apply to the Court of Protection for a Judge to make these decisions for you. This process is complex, lengthy and costly.


In comparison, the process to put a Power of Attorney in place with a specialist Solicitor, is straightforward, quick and relatively inexpensive.


How do I make a Power of Attorney?

There are two types of Power of Attorney:

  • Finance and Property
  • Health and Welfare


You can take out one type of Power of Attorney only, but taking out both types is recommended because it means you and your loved ones are fully covered whatever may happen in the future and with whatever sorts of decisions and actions need to be taken.


What to do now?

Powers of Attorney are the same as any insurance policy – you hope you never to have to use the policy, but you know you want to be protected by it should the worst happen. If you plan ahead and put a Power of Attorney in place now, you and your loved ones will be fully protected and be in full control of what happens to your health and finances if the worst should happen.


For full details about Powers of Attorney, please call us on 0161 749 9000 / 07572 373 813 or check out the Leech and Co website HERE.  We are more than happy to answer your questions and talk you through the process of making a Power of Attorney.


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