What options are open to you if, one day, you can no longer look after yourself? This is a question that we all need to consider but often overlook. The reality is that a lot can happen in life, and something, whether through illness, accident or simply by virtue of growing older, may result in our no longer being able to do everything ourselves.
Have you ever considered whether a Power of Attorney could be useful? These legal documents allow you to appoint someone to look after you and your interests, should you find yourself unable to do so. At Anderson Bain, an increasing number of our clients are being more proactive in planning for their long-term welfare by exploring the possibility of creating a Power of Attorney alongside writing their Will.
Power of Attorney Lawyers, Aberdeen
A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument that gives you complete freedom to decide how your interests will be catered for if you find that you’re unable to look after yourself. Many people think that a Power of Attorney is only relevant to people approaching old age. This is simply not true: we can all suffer an injury or develop a condition that could severely impact on our lives. Power of Attorney ensures that, no matter how severely we’re affected by an injury or illness, someone will be there to help with our care and make decisions on our behalf.
The person that you choose to provide some kind of care in a Power of Attorney will be your 'Attorney'. The person you decide to appoint as your Attorney should be someone that you trust. You can appoint a close friend, a family member or even a professional firm to act as your Attorney. The important point is that whomever you choose should be capable of protecting your interests should they ever be needed to make decisions on your behalf. It is a good idea for you to think carefully about who you would like this to be, and to perhaps take some time to discuss with the person concerned why you would like them to take on this responsibility. Doing so allows them to ask you some questions and gain a fuller appreciation of how you would like them to carry out their role under a Power of Attorney.
This also raises another important point: what kind of care would you like to be provided under a Power of Attorney? Your answer to this question will determine the kind of Power of Attorney that will be most useful. There are different types of Powers of Attorney:
1. Continuing Power of Attorney
This is more appropriate if you are particularly concerned about how your money will be handled if you find yourself unable to organise this yourself. Under a Continuing Power of Attorney, you will be able to set out how your Attorney is to use your money and assets. This gives often much needed reassurance to many of our clients who are worried for their property and investments.
2. Welfare Power of Attorney
These relate to your wanting to put some kind of plan in place for your own personal care, i.e. healthcare, decisions regarding medical treatment etc. It also relates to your being involved in other social activities, should you find yourself unable to attend them unaided.
3. Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney
Alternatively, you may see some benefit in using both a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney. This is possible and the two can be combined to cover both your welfare and financial interests. At andersonbain, we are regularly asked about whether it is possible to take advantage of both types of Power of Attorney, with our clients anxious to ensure that no aspect of their future needs is left unattended.
You needn't be worried that your independence will be interfered with by virtue of your creating a Power of Attorney. They will not come into effect straight away: a Welfare Power of Attorney will only take effect if or when it becomes clear that you are no longer able to look after yourself, i.e. are in some way mentally incapacitated. A Continuing Power of Attorney can either take immediate effect or at a later point that you identify in the document itself. Moreover, it is important that you make sure that the document itself is created properly, observing the important technical requirements that are imposed by law.
With more and more clients becoming interested in arranging for their long-term care in the event of ill health or injury, at Anderson Bain we have developed a great deal of expertise in advising on and creating Powers of Attorney. The fact of the matter is that many of us, at some point or another, will find ourselves in need of assistance which requires us to turn to others to help us through our daily lives. However, the realisation needn’t come as a surprise, causing stress and anxiety. You can take a few well-advised steps now to decide who you would like to look after your interests later in life, and how they will do so, by making use of a Power of Attorney. These documents are a very effective way of providing you and your loved one's peace of mind that your long-term interests will be protected by someone who is trustworthy and capable of the duties expected of them.
At andersonbain, we have a friendly and effective team of solicitors who are often asked to help clients prepare for the future. We take pride in showing that we are here to help you make the arrangements that reflect your interests and ensure your comfort later in life. To find out more about how we can help you, please contact us.