'Powers of attorney', sometimes abbreviated to POA, are legal documents which allow you to give authority to someone else – a family member or friend, for example - to manage your financial and personal affairs on your behalf. This person is referred to as your 'attorney' and you as the person giving authority are referred to as the 'donor'.
There are two types of Powers of attorney and it is important you choose the one that is right for your particular circumstances.
A 'General (or Ordinary) power of attorney' is designed for situations where you require another person to look after your affairs for a limited period of time. One example would be moving abroad to work for a while or having a physical illness which requires a long stay in hospital. In this situation, the person you have authorised (known as the attorney) can be given the authority to carry out tasks such as sign documents on your behalf and handle your financial affairs.
When you no longer need someone to look after your affairs, you can stop the 'General power of attorney' simply by completing a document known as a 'revocation of a general power of attorney', which will remove the authority of the attorney to act on your behalf.
A 'Lasting power of attorney' is a legal document which allows you to authorise someone to act on your behalf and manage your affairs permanently. This could be because you have the onset of an illness such as dementia or that you are concerned about your ability to manage as you get older.
There are two types of 'Lasting powers of attorney', in which you can give details of the kinds of things you would like your attorney to manage for you.
The 'Lasting power of attorney for property and affairs' covers all your financial and property matters and lets you give your attorney authorisation to perform any number of tasks on your behalf, such as:
On the other hand, a 'Lasting power of attorney – personal welfare' covers your health and social needs and could include decisions such as: