What Is Power Of Attorney?

LPA is a legal document that allows you to delegate a person to assist you in making decisions or act on your behalf in health matters, welfare, property and financial affairs.

The benefits of granting someone else power of attorney is that regardless of your mental or physical state, someone else is equipped and is legally authorised to act on your behalf.

But you need to be mentally capacitated to legally authorise someone to act on your behalf. In other words, power of attorney is only valid if the ‘donor’ or ‘principal’ has the mental capacity required by law to do so.

Who can be your attorney or agent? You can choose your spouse, anyone in your family, friends, someone related to you in business or your lawyer or solicitor. The criteria should be that they’re logically over 18, trustworthy and mentally capacitated.

You need to ascertain they are exemplary in their own management of finances and other affairs in their lives. If they can’t manage their affairs, how can they manage yours?

You need to ensure they will have your best interests at heart and that there’s no conflict of interests between yours and their affairs. And of course, you need to confrm with the person you choose to be your attorney or agent, that they are happy to do so.

Please give us a call if you are thinking of naming someone to look after your affairs. It is a difficult decision to make and it is important that you have advice from a legal expert who will help you think objectively. SG

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