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What is power of attorney?

You may wish to prepare for a time when you can no longer manage the running of your day to day affairs or make decisions about your property and finances or your health and welfare.

A power of attorney is a legal document, which authorises one or more people to handle your health or financial affairs. You can set up a power of attorney for a limited time, or to deal with a specific situation.

You can make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) and can choose one or more people you trust to deal with all or some of your property and financial affairs or health and welfare if and when it becomes a problem for you. You must apply for an LPA when you have capacity to do so.

People often appoint more than one “attorney” to act for them. This guards against abuse of the wide powers over property and finance that the power of attorney gives. It can also be a good idea because people may have different skills relating to property, finance or health and welfare. Attorneys can act “jointly” (where they must sign all transactions) or “jointly and severally” where only one person needs to sign. If you change your mind later about the person or people you have chosen you can revoke the document.

Last updated: 06/03/2023