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Five Common Misconceptions About Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legally binding document that allows someone you designate to make certain types of decisions and act on your behalf. Powers of attorney are generally used if you are unable to work for yourself or do not wish to act for yourself.

There are many reasons why you might choose to do one, including being out of the country or hospitalized for an extended period and need someone to take care of your assets while you’re away; or to protect yourself and your assets if you lose mental capacity.

However, many of us put off this work due to, among other things, certain misconceptions.

This article aims to debunk some of the most common misconceptions regarding a power of attorney.

Misconception One: Lawyers, Once Appointed, Can’t Do What They Want

This is one of the biggest fears people have about giving someone else control of their assets. However, it is totally unfounded as lawyers are heavily restricted in what they can and cannot do.

There are various checks and balances to ensure that a lawyer does not abuse their position, including a set of rules on how to register the power of attorney so that it can be used.

The first set of restrictions comes from you. By creating a power of attorney, specifically a durable power of attorney, there is an opportunity for you to place as many or as few restrictions on your attorneys. For example, if you are establishing a Durable Power of Attorney, to allow our family members to handle your finances in the event you lose capacity, then you can clearly state in the paperwork that while your attorneys can do X, Y, and Z, they cannot. they can sell their house, or they must decide together before spending more than £X.

The second set of restrictions comes from the Office of the Public Guardian, which sets clear rules on how a lawyer must behave, including preventing them from acting outside of the power given in the power of attorney and making sure they always act in the best interests of the donor.

Misconception Two: You must use the power of attorney at the time it’s made, or you can’t make a power of attorney until you know you’ll need it soon.

Many of us put off this work because we are not in a position where we need it now or (as far as we know) in the imminent future.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always give you warnings, and powers of attorney aren’t just for seniors who may have concerns about dementia. Anything can happen that may cause you to need an attorney right away, including a sudden and unexpected hospital admission, an unplanned trip out of the country, or tragically, an accident that renders you incapacitated.

It’s wise to create a power long before it’s needed, especially a durable power (designed expressly for an ability loss).

It is entirely possible to write and sign a durable power of attorney, but keep it until you need or want to use it. This is because for a Durable Power of Attorney to be used, it must be registered until it is registered, it is just a piece of paper with no power or purpose, and can sit in a drawer until needed.

You can easily create and sign a durable power of attorney when you’re 30 and not register it until you need it at age 70.

Misconception Three: You Can Wait Until Someone Loses Capacity Before Making a Durable Power of Attorney

This ties in with the previous misconception and is completely wrong. Making this mistake can cost you and your loved one thousands of pounds.

To make a durable power of attorney or a general power of attorney, the person making it must have capacity. There is no way around this. If you lose capacity, you can’t make a power of attorney and your loved ones have to apply for what’s called a conservatorship of you and your property, which costs over a thousand pounds and takes several months to sort out.

Considering you could create a power of attorney yourself for free or use a solicitor for £200 (depending on the company, shop around), it should be obvious that this is the superior document.

It’s also worth noting that if you create a general power and then lose ability, your general power loses all of its power. If you had given a durable power of attorney when you had capacity and later lose capacity, your attorneys can register the durable power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian right away and begin helping you with your finances and care.

Misconception Four: A Power of Attorney Is for Life

This is simply not true.

There are different types of Power of Attorney, Durable and General. Lasting powers (you might have guessed from the name) are usually long-term. However, a general power of attorney is not.

A power of attorney is a document you can set up to allow someone to handle your business while you can’t, if, for example, you’re out of the country, hospitalized for a few months, or unable to leave the country. house for a while. A general power of attorney gives another person the authority to act on your behalf for a particular reason, to perform a specific task, or for a specific period of time. As soon as he can manage his affairs again, he can destroy the general power.

Misconception Five: You Can Only Have One Lawyer

The role of attorney is challenging at times, and there is a lot of responsibility.

So instead of putting all that responsibility on one person, you can spread it out by having more than one attorney. This second person is called a joint attorney.

You can designate any number of agents in a single power of attorney, and you can specify if they can act separately or if they must cooperate and join together to decide. You can have them act together on some issues, such as property sales, but have them work individually on all other issues. There is a lot of flexibility and it is entirely up to you.

conclusion

In conclusion, there is much to consider when making a power of attorney, but it is not a decision that should be postponed.

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