Powers of Attorney – take control of your care needs

As social care is now top of the new government’s agenda, you can take control of your long-term care by drawing up a power of attorney. Why leave it up to the government to decide who manages your affairs?

During your lifetime it is important to ensure that that you appoint attorneys to manage your affairs if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. You effectively grant power of attorney to someone or more than one person to look after your affairs. This can be one for a specific task such as selling a house or business whilst you are out the country, or in general for twelve months.

If you wish to grant an enduring or, as they are called since the Mental Capacity Act 2005, lasting power of attorney there is no need to keep re doing the power, it will continue until your death.

There are two different types of lasting power of attorney, one for your finances and one for health and welfare. Even if you have joint accounts with your partner, you need to have an attorney authorised to administer your finances, whether to agree a house sale, take over utilities or manage your day to day finances. If you are a business owner or shareholder, it is also essential that your designated attorney can manage your business or look after your interests if you are incapacitated.

The health and welfare power of attorney allows you to state who will have authority to make decisions on your behalf, if needed. You can specify whether you wish your attorney to make decisions about life sustaining treatment. You can also state what care you would like, within the bounds your financial capacity. Any medical professional will take your recorded decision into account in deciding what is best for your care.