There are many types of Powers of Attorney that can be put in place but they all enable people you choose to act on your behalf.
General Powers of Attorney can be used whilst you retain the capacity to give instructions.
This can be used to help administer financial affairs if, for example, you are lucky enough to go on a trip of a lifetime around the world. Alternatively, it could be used to sign paperwork to sell and buy your old and new home if you are away on holiday.
Trustees can use Powers of Attorney only in limited circumstances and they are only valid for up to twelve months. These allow trustees to temporarily delegate decision making power to another for a specific reason.
Enduring Powers of Attorney are still valid and active if they were signed before 1 October 2007 and have been correctly completed. They can be used while you have capacity to give instructions. When your attorney suspects that your capacity is becoming impaired they must register the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Lasting Powers of Attorney came into existence on 1 October 2007 and enable your chosen attorneys to deal with the management of your property and affairs and or your health and welfare. There is much more to Lasting Powers than with Enduring Powers. This is partly due to safeguards that were put in place to protect you but they also provide greater flexibility in how you appoint your attorneys and in how they can act for you.
The preparation of a Power of Attorney is important as it enables life to continue when things get in the way. Whether it be a holiday, a health blip or a more permanent issue with capacity Powers of Attorney can help overcome problems which arise. They also remove the need to involve the Court of Protection with the administration of personal and financial matters.
If you lose the capacity to manage your affairs and do not have a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney in place then no one has any authority to act on your behalf. In these circumstances, an application to the Court of Protection is needed to appoint someone as your deputy. Such applications take time and are costly. Further, you have no say in who is appointed on your behalf and because they have been appointed by the Court there will be ongoing annual administration fees.