Power of attorney

Small firms of solicitors receive many instructions from personal clients to prepare a power of attorney. So what is a power of attorney ?

A power of attorney is a form of legal document where an individual grants either general or specific powers to one or more other adults (the attorneys) to act in the person’s name with full legal authority.

A general power of attorney might be used if important legal documents need to be signed whilst someone is away or they are disabled and can’t go shopping, do their banking or such like. A general power of attorney can be varied or revoked at any time by the person who has given the authority and as stated above it can be limited to certrain activitoes or to a certain time period or in fact in any other way limited.

There is another type of power of attorney also, known as a lasting power of attorney. with an ageing population ther can come a time when an elderly person is incapable of dealing with his or her affairs due to mental health  incapacity. In these circumstances, if that person has signed a lasting power of attorney whilst he or she was mentally capable, the lasting power of attorney will automatically kick in, having been registered at court previously. There is a court fee payable and te court will continue to have oversight of the actiosn of the attorneys to ensure that the incapacitated person’s interests remain protected. the advantage of planning ahead in this way is it ensures that an elderly individual chooses who will look after his or her legal matters rather than court appointed. There are also several variants of the lasting power of attorney, including property power of attorney and financial power of attorney.Solicitors can usually deal with the paperwork on these types of issues in quite straightforward manner but if there are doubts already about the capacity of the person gioving the power, this will significantly complicate matters.

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