Power of Attorney is not just for elderly people

Power of Attorney - not just for the elderly
Planning for a future in which someone else makes important decisions on your behalf is often associated with the elderly, the wealthy or anyone else but you.

However, putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney can give peace of mind that essentially, someone you trust is in sole charge of your affairs if you are no longer able to direct them yourself. This applies whether it is on a temporary basis, or worse, a more permanent one.

Anyone aged 18 or older who has the mental ability to make financial, property and medical decisions for themselves, is able to arrange for someone else to make these decisions for them in the future when they might not be able to do so.

Here at April King Legal, we hope that by dispelling some of the allegories around powers of attorney more people, but specifically young people will put in place this simple legal document so that loved ones are relieved of the burden should something happen to them. It certainly isn’t all about the conditions that you may relate to elderly people and powers of attorney: young people which take part in high-risk sports, living with a mental health condition, or regular alcohol and drug use are all social patterns which could lead young people to no longer be able to make important decisions for themselves. It is very important to let young people know that without powers of attorney in place, your family or your partner will not be able to access your bank account or consent to a medical procedure. For this to be done without powers of attorney, it must be applied to the Courts in order to act on your behalf which can be time-consuming and costly.

Common myths

Only elderly people need Powers of Attorney: Wrong

  • What if you had an accident whilst travelling abroad?
  • Perhaps you have an unknown condition which acts suddenly?
  • Young people are more likely to be involved in high risk of leisure pursuits. If something were to happen,  who would make their health or finance decisions?

My next of kin gets to act anyway: Wrong

  • Family members can’t just assume that they can make decisions with your affairs or your welfare, if someone has lost capacity a family member simply cannot ring up the bank for example and get the authority to deal with their accounts, they must provide a legal document
  • Next of kin is not actually a legal term.
  • If someone has already lost mental capacity, it is too late to do a power of attorney.
  • Not everybody would like their family to act on their behalf, the younger generation may prefer for the partner or friends to act on their behalf.

If I sign a power of attorney I then lose control: Wrong

  • A health and welfare power of attorney can only be used when a person lacks mental capacity, only then can your attorneys make decisions on your behalf.
  • A Property and financial affairs power of attorney can be used when a person lacks capacity but also where a person provides consent for their attorney to act.
  • Mental capacity is decision specific, so powers of attorney can come into use at different times of your life.

Making a power of attorney is not at all giving away your independence, it’s about taking control and being self-aware and putting in place a legal document, just in case.

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