When is the right time to set up a Power of Attorney?

It is a common misconception that setting up a Power of Attorney is something you should do after you retire.

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When is the right time to set up a Power of Attorney?

It is a common misconception that setting up a Power of Attorney is something you should do after you retire, or when you start to experience health issues which could eventually lead you to lose mental capacity. In fact, there is no need to wait that long.

Setting up a Power of Attorney does not mean that you immediately lose the right to make your own decisions. You can choose whether it can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity. This means that a Power of Attorney can be set up well in advance of any potential loss of ability to manage your own affairs.

Your representative should only ever make a choice for you if you’re unable to make that decision at the specific time it needs to be made. For example, if you have an accident and fall into a coma, your representative will look after your affairs. Then if you make a full recovery, you will be able to take back control of your own decisions again.

The best time to set up a Power of Attorney is when you have the capacity to make one. This is because once you reach the point where you fear you are losing mental capacity, setting up a Power of Attorney becomes more difficult because the Court of Protection may not accept it for a lack of capacity. You can avoid all the upset that situation would cause by setting up a Power of Attorney well in advance.

Deciding to set up a Power of Attorney can be difficult, as for some it means facing the possibility that they will lose mental capacity at some point – something many of us don’t want to have to think about. However, it can bring a sense of relief that your affairs will be handled by someone you trust when you are no longer capable of handling them yourself.

For further advice on setting up a Power of Attorney, contact Keebles Partner Michele Wightman at michele.wightman@keebles.com or call 0114 290 6207.

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