Why You Should Have A Power of Attorney

Nov 14, 2022 | Wills & Estates

A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person, legally called the donor, gives another trusted person (or persons) the right to make decisions such as medical or financial decisions on their behalf if the need arises.

A power of attorney can only be set up while you still have the ability to weigh up information and make decisions for yourself. Many people get a power of attorney drawn up at the same time as making a Will.

Putting a power of attorney in place now can give you reassurance that someone you have chosen, and trust is on standby if you are unable to make decisions for yourself, following an accident or illness for example, or because you are out of the country, it can be very costly and lengthy for other family members to apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to look after your day-to-day affairs.

What Are The Benefits of Having A Power of Attorney?

To best understand the benefits of having a power of attorney, we will consider what happens if you do not have one.

You may have assumed that your spouse or partner will be able to take care of things should you become unable to. However, this is not the case. If you become incapacitated for any reason, temporarily or permanently, without having a power of attorney organised, the Court of Protection will choose an appropriate attorney to make decisions on your behalf. It will not necessarily be a spouse, partner, or family member. Thus, you or your close family will no longer have the authority to make important decisions on your behalf.

If you have a power of attorney in place, the attorney should act in your best interests at all times when making decisions on your behalf. They should consider all the options and choose the one that is least restrictive on your rights and freedoms. They should encourage you to participate as much as possible, considering your wishes and previous decisions, taking into account your beliefs and values, and discussing natters with others who know you well.

Types of Powers of Attorney

There are two types of powers of attorney:

  • Health and welfare: your attorney will make decisions regarding medical treatment and daily care, and organise moving into a care home, if necessary.
  • Property and financial affairs: your attorney will decide if and when to sell property and manage your banking and ensure bills are paid.

Making A Lasting Power of Attorney

Generally, provided they are at least 18 years, you can choose anyone you trust to be an attorney, for example, a spouse, child, friend, or solicitor. It is a good idea to let your attorney know you are considering them as they may want to think about it before accepting such a responsible role. While they will be entitled to claim expenses, it is an unpaid role.

If you decide to appoint more than one attorney, you should specify whether they are to act jointly or severally or outline precisely the decisions that each should be responsible for. Should your attorney predecease you the power of attorney will automatically come to an end.

To make a power of attorney:

  • you must be at least 18 years old
  • you must have the mental capacity to make the power of attorney
  • choose your attorney (friend, relative, etc)
  • fill in the necessary paperwork
  • ensure forms are signed and witnessed
  • register the document with the Office of the Public Guardian


Many people think that having a power of attorney is only necessary if you are retired, elderly, or have a long-term illness but this is not the case. The reality is that you cannot predict what may happen in the future, and a power of attorney is an important safeguard to provide peace of mind that your best interests will be taken care of by a trusted person should the unforeseen happen.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on (023) 9225 9822 or email [email protected]


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O’Hara Properties & Estates is an independent estate agents with a wealth of experience selling property in the Waterlooville and surrounding areas.