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2021 brings a new year of opportunity and a chance to reflect back on what a challenging year we have all faced in 2020. The uncertainty, the current impact on our health and care services as well as the impact on families across the world will be long remembered and felt going into the future.
2021 also offers a chance for us to consider the future and prioritise what matters to us most. At this time of year, we normally set out what New Year resolutions we hope to carry through for the rest of the year. Protecting you and your family’s future is perhaps not one resolution you would have usually considered – however, after the challenges of 2020 this seems to now be more important than ever.
Having a Will and Power of Attorney in place acts as a means of protecting our own interests during our lifetime and the interests of others we care about in the event of our passing.
Why should I have a current, up-to-date Power of Attorney?
In conclusion to this three-part blog, we will look at three reasons why you should have a current, up-to-date Power of Attorney (PoA) in place.
1.Deciding Who Will Make Decisions on Your Behalf
A Power of Attorney allows you (the Granter) to appoint an attorney to act on your behalf where you become mentally incapable to do so. Appointing an attorney – like appointing an Executor in a Will – is an extremely important decision. An attorney will be granted the powers to act for you in terms of your welfare and financial matters. Careful consideration should be given to who you, as Granter, wish to appoint as your attorney. Having a person who you can trust is important as they will be dealing with your welfare and financial matters on an on-going basis. Appointing the right person or persons to act as your attorney is considered one of the most important steps when considering a Power of attorney.
2.Avoiding Application for a Guardianship Order
A PoA becomes active where it is determined that the Granter has become mentally incapable. This is when the appointed attorney steps into their role and can act within the powers set out in the PoA document. Where there is no PoA in place when an individual is determined to have become mentally incapable this is where complications can arise. A family member or spouse will not have legal capacity to make decisions on your behalf in terms of your welfare or finances. Instead, an application would be made to Court for a Guardianship Order to allow an individual to act on your behalf. The Guardianship process is a long process and involves input from medical professionals and the local authority as well as the Court. Having a PoA in place will remove the need to have this hurdle of the need for a Guardianship order.
3.Securing a certainty for your Future
Having a PoA in place allows you to be pro-active about your future welfare and the future security of your finances. You will be able to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf in one of the most important stages of your life. You will be able to understand and communicate the powers you wish your attorney to have – providing certainty that your intentions have been set out for others to understand and act on.
As noted, the scenario of being left without a PoA in place leaves an individual’s welfare at risk and the financial security of that individual being uncertain. With the challenges brought on from 2020, it is now more important than ever that we all consider what we would like from our future, and having a think about PoAs is something we should all be doing regardless of age and stage in life.
Despite the relentless challenges we have all faced during 2020 – things should (hopefully) improve in 2021. Whether you are new to Wills and Powers of Attorney or you have recently updated your existing Will and Power of Attorney, there is no better time than the present to consider your future.
Throughout 2020 and now into 2021, the Private Client team at Blackadders has been on hand to assist many individuals and families in setting out a road map of how they wish their future welfare and finances to be dealt with. No matter the complexity or simplicity of the query the Blackadders team would be happy to assist you in protecting your future in 2021 and beyond.
If you need any advice about Wills and Powers of Attorney please get in touch with Blackadders’ Private Client Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland’.
Paul Nash, Trainee Solicitor
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