Huw Worthington, Senior Partner, advises on the benefits of drawing up an Enduring Power of Attorney
No one knows what the future holds and there may come a time when a person is unable to make their own decisions.Mental incapacity can happen to anyone at anytime, eg through accident or illness.It can be difficult subject to broach with relatives but it is something everyone should think about.
Whilst many people think that that if they become unable to make decisions for themselves through illness or mental incapacity then a family member can act on their behalf, this is not the case.One of the most significant decisions you can make in your life is to put in place an Enduring Power of Attorney while you still have that choice and ideally whilst still young. Not planning ahead for the fact that there may come a time when you cannot make important decisions for yourself or need help to do so means the chance to legally state your wishes will have passed.
In this event, in most cases, if there is no Enduring Power of Attorney in place, another person would have to go to Court to set up the authority to act on your behalf.This can be time consuming, stressful, costly and might not reflect your wishes.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone else to deal with third parties on your behalf, for example financial institutions, local council or to choose someone else to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.
You can cancel or amend an Enduring Power of Attorney at any time as long as you are mentally capable.
By planning ahead you can have peace of mind knowing that your wishes have been formally recorded and that someone you trust has authority to deal with your affairs should you become incapable.
Huw Worthingtonis a member of the Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners, the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the field of estates, trusts and related matters. Our Wills and Estates department provide specialist advice on all matters relating to Wills and Estate planning solutions, as well as the administration of estates, contested Wills, Intestacy and Inheritance tax advice.