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Powers of Attorney
A will only empowers the named executors to deal with assets and liabilities of the person making the will after his or her death. Many people are living longer but having some health issue later on in life which means it is less easy or convenient to deal with their property and affairs in person. A small proportion of younger people may also suffer serious injury (for example in a car crash) or illness leaving them unable to conduct their own personal affairs without help. The answer is to appoint one or more trusted family members or friends who can be authorised to help in such circumstances if they arise.
Prior to October 2007, there was a very simple and inexpensive process available under the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act. This Act has been replaced by The Lasting Powers of Attorney Act which is more complicated but also introduced Powers of Attorney dealing with Heath and Personal Welfare as well as those dealing with Property and Financial Affairs, there are numerous options now available but it is important to consider these whilst the proposed Donor of the Power(s) still has full mental capacity otherwise Court proceedings in the Court of Protection may become necessary.
Powers of Attorney Lingo
Below are useful keywords and terminology associated with Powers of Attorney.
Attorneyclick to expand / contract...
A person who is mentally competent himself or herself can appoint someone else to act as their 'Attorney' and, normally, the Attorney would be able to deal with any property, financial or other matters or decisions which the person granting the Power of Attorney could do himself or herself.
Receiverclick to expand / contract...
If someone becomes mentally incompetent without validly appointing someone to act as their Attorney, then an aplication usually has to be made to the Court of Protection so that a responsible person can be appointed to act as 'Reciever' of the person who is no longer mentally able to deal with things himself or herself. The Receiver has to act in strict accordance with the orders of the Court for the conduct of the affairs of the mentally incapable person. The person who has become mentally incapable and whose affairs are now being controlled by the Court is known as a 'Patient' of the Court of Protection.
Court of Protectionclick to expand / contract...
This is the name of the particular Court which deals with the affairs of persons who are not able to deal with them on their own.
Public Guardianship Officeclick to expand / contract...
This is the Government Department which works in conjunction with the Court of Protection to assist in the management of the affairs of persons who are not capable of dealing with their own affairs.