A contributed article, published in the Forum June 2019, by Justin King

Power of attorney

Only 7% of the UK population has a Power of Attorney in place. Justin King, Chartered Financial Planner at MFP Wealth Management explains why you don’t want to let that happen.

 “But it happened so quickly!”

 Ivy seemed to be suffering from a few mild dementia symptoms. All of a sudden, she’s showing more severe signs. Without a Power of Attorney in place, Ivy’s family cannot make decisions on her behalf.

 In cases like Ivy’s, it’s left to the Court of Protection to make decisions on financial and welfare matters. These include where you end up living, what happens at the end of your life, and who can access your money. It’s complex, costly and time-consuming, not to mention harrowing.

Health & Welfare Power of Attorney

If you lose mental capacity, the doctors are in charge. Most doctors talk to the family, and if there’s just a spouse or partner it’s fairly simple. If there are children it’s more complicated, as doctors consult everyone.

If you’re nearing the end of your life and decisions need to be made but you’re not in hospital, the local authority should allocate you a social worker. But what will they know about you and your preferences?

Take the time to express your wishes in a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney to take away the guess work.

Property & Finance Power of Attorney

If you lose mental capacity your money may be tied up for six months – the average time it takes to get a Court Order and appoint a Deputy. A Deputy is similar to an Attorney, but with fewer powers and much more red tape to plough through!

Getting a Court Order from the Court of Protection is a costly and lengthy process involving doctors, a 60-page application form and taking out a Security Bond.

When Powers of Attorney go wrong

The good news is the Court of Protection is the first port of call if you have a Power of Attorney in place and your Attorney is not acting appropriately.

A core part of retirement planning

To have somebody who can deal with your finances and somebody who can make health and welfare decisions if something happens to you, is incredibly reassuring. Make sure they are part of your future planning.

Listen to the interview with Fiona Heald on The Retirement Café Podcast about the Court of Protection by visiting www.theretirementcafe.co.uk. Make sure your wishes are taken into account.

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