What use is a Power of Attorney?
Do You Have Power Of Attorney For Your Parents?
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What use is a Power of Attorney?

by Dennis Gardener

Do You Have Power Of Attorney For Your Parents?

Perhaps it’s a new term to you, and you’re wondering what this ‘power’ is all about. Perhaps you think you understand what it means, but don’t see how it could be relevant to you? 

Well read on: especially if you spend time working overseas or a long distance from home. After all, what would happen if you were away when there was some legal paperwork that needed your signature urgently? You might have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles, resulting in disruption to your work and costing you hundreds, perhaps thousands of pounds.

It must be someone you trust completely who holds this ‘power’, but you can then rely on them to deal with any issue on your behalf: be it financial, legal, utilities.

You can choose to grant authority with immediate effect or in the event of a certain type of illness or accident. But you need to have ‘legal capacity’ to make the decision in the first place, so it is something to think about ahead of time.

There are two ‘jurisdictions’: your health and welfare and / or your property and financial affairs. You can grant different people power in each, or one person power over both. 

There is some ‘small print’ that it’s good to be aware of. 

  • If the person you have in mind is bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order then they cannot act for you in property and financial affairs.
  • If you choose to appoint more than one person you must decide if they’ll be able to act ‘jointly and severally’, which will allow either to make a decision on your behalf. The alternative is that they must agree before any instruction can be acted upon, and always sign jointly.
  • To hold Power of Attorney the person you ask has to be over 18, but can otherwise be a friend, a professional advisor or a family member. It’s your choice. 

To set this up you must have ‘legal capacity’ – so it is something to think about before you actually need it.

It’s easy to arrange and costs around £250, which if you are paying UK tax may even be deductible. 

If you are interested in knowing more, have a talk with me and lets see how we can give you one less headache!

Case Study 1

Bob works offshore and two years ago, whilst he was seeing me about writing a will, we talked about a Power of Attorney (POA). He was initially reluctant because he did all his banking online, but he decided to put one in place when his partner said she wanted one for herself. 

Six months later he called me to say the POA had meant his partner had been able to buy the house they had both always wanted, in both their names, without him ever leaving the oil platform. “If we’d waited until I came home then the property would have been sold to someone else.”

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  • "Dennis Gardener was polite, respectful, discreet, informative and efficient. He provided me with excellent guidance and advice with regards to my will and Power of Attorney . He is a professional in every sense of the word. I would not hesitate to recommend"

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