10 Mar 2017

Everything you need to know about: power of attorney

Everything you need to know about: power of attorney

As the UK population gets older, more people are having to put a power of attorney in place. But what is it?

The UK population continues to rise and is expected to top 76 million by 2045.

That is almost 11 million ahead of the 2015 figure and nearly 20 million more than the 1975 total, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The growth in population is partly because the population is ageing. The percentage of the population that is 65 or older is rising.

It increased between 1975 and 2015, from 14.1% to 17.8%. It is projected to continue to grow to nearly a quarter of the population by 2045. The ONS said this is an important consideration for the provision of health and social care services and pensions.

Power of attorney

This increase in pensioner numbers also means it is highly likely that use of the power of attorney (POA) will become more popular.

When you get older, a point may be reached when it becomes difficult or even impossible for you to look after and manage your own affairs. 

It may be that you have lost mental capacity, or have simply reached a stage in your life where you would rather that someone else took on the responsibility for looking after your day-to-day finances.

A POA allows you to appoint a family member, friend or professional adviser to make financial or welfare decisions on your behalf should you be unable or unwilling to do so.

POAs can allow someone to deal with your financial affairs or, with regards to matters of personal welfare, continuing welfare POAs can be utilised.  

POAs can be drafted quickly and cost effectively so as to reflect your individual circumstances and wishes, whilst also being flexible enough to make certain that your trusted attorney is able to deal with any conceivable scenario.

But, should you lose mental capacity, it is no longer possible for you to grant a POA.

If that happens, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the courts to have someone appointed as your financial or welfare guardian. 

Expert help

You can find out everything you need to know about power of attorney here.

If you would like to speak to one of our lawyers about power of attorney, click here.

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