In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by solicitor Frances Cartwright...

Do I need to create a Power of Attorney now?

Q: Trying to do all the ‘right’ things, I have made a Will to protect my assets for my children. Now I have been advised to consider making a Power of Attorney as I am told it would make it easier for my family in case I need their help in future. Do I really need to do this?

A: Although a Will and Power of Attorney are not linked, they are both very useful documents to have in place. As you need to still have capacity when you give instructions to create a Power of Attorney, it makes sound sense to do this now, so that it is already in place if a time comes when you require help to manage your affairs.

There are two different types of Power of Attorney. The first is for Property and Financial affairs and the second is for Health and Welfare matters. You can appoint up to four attorneys.

For the Property and Financial affairs, your attorney can assist you with matters before you have lost capacity and if you lose capacity. Attorneys can help to manage your finances, ensure bills are paid and claim the correct benefits and pensions you are entitled to. The Health and Welfare Power of Attorney can only be used if you have lost capacity. Your attorneys would be able to decide on the type of care you receive, if you should stay in your own home or moving into residential care and ensuring you are in a suitable care home.

If you did not make a Power of Attorney and you required assistance after you had lost mental capacity, then the only option would be to apply to the Court of Protection which can take around nine to 12 months and is costly in comparison with creating Powers of Attorney.

This question has been answered by Frances Cartwright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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