There is a lot of misunderstanding and myths when it comes to Power Of Attorney. Many of us presume we don’t require one, or it is something that can be sorted out in the future, but let us highlight why you shouldn’t delay having this important document put in place.
Some of the common misunderstandings when it comes to POA are;
1. ‘’I have a Will in place’’
Having a Will in place is great and it protects your beneficiaries interests, after you have died. A Power of Attorney protects your own interests, while you are still alive, up to the point where you die. Having a POA in place, means that in the unfortunate event you become unable to make your own decisions, you have someone legally appointed to do this for you.
2. ‘’POA is for the elderly’’
Many people assume that POA is only for older people, who may have mobility or health issues. This is not true. The truth is no one knows what is around the corner, and accidents or illnesses can happen at any time, any age. The important thing about registering a POA is that you need to have capacity, to ensure you can appoint someone on your own, so why delay the process? In the unfortunate event you lose capacity tomorrow, due to an accident or sudden illness, it would be too late to get a POA in place, which would result in a stressful situation for your family. In the event of losing capacity, and not having a POA in place, you would need to apply for Guardianship through the courts which is a lengthy and expensive process. We recommend that everyone gets a POA in place, regardless of your health and age.
3. ‘’My family will look after me..’’
Many people don’t set up a POA, because they think that their family, for example their Spouse, will automatically be appointed to make decisions on their behalf in the unfortunate event they can’t. Unless you have a POA in place, your ‘next of kin’ won’t have any legal rights, including health and financial decisions. If there is no POA in place, these decisions are left to the relevant professional. Remember you need to have mental capacity when organising your POA, don’t wait until your in the situation where you need it, as it might be too late.
4. ‘’I don’t have the money…’’
Another common myth surrounding POA, is that people with little or no assets think they don’t need a POA in place because there isn’t much to be done with their finances. Remember, a POA isn’t just for financial decisions, its also for health decisions. If you have an attorney in place, and you are unlucky to fall ill, your trusted attorney will have the right to make decisions about treatment, and your personal wellbeing. Also, an attorney would have the ability to manage your finances on your behalf, so even if you don’t have a lot of money, there may become a time where you need assistance, your attorney will be in place to make your life easier in difficult circumstances.