Who will manage your affairs should you become incapable due to an accident, stroke, brain haemorrhage, dementia or Alzheimer's? Who will sign cheques, documents and withdraw money from your account to pay the bills? Who can manage your investments and savings accounts? Do you own a business? What would happen to the business in these circumstances?
Unless you have a Power of Attorney in place you may end up with your partner, spouse, family member going to court for permission to handle your affairs and at very considerable cost in both time (approx.12 months) & money (thousands).
All of these problems can be resolved through putting a Power of Attorney in place now, as an insurance to help in the event of becoming incapacitated.
Although an unpleasant thought, many people lose the ability to handle their own affairs during their lifetime. However, by signing a Power of Attorney you can ensure that if this should ever happen, someone you have chosen and trust will be able to look after your affairs with the authority required to do so. It is often thought that your spouse or next of kin can handle matters and sign documents etc. on your behalf as a matter of course; this is not the case. Should you become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney in place, appointing someone to handle your affairs, which must be applied for through the courts, can become a long drawn out and very expensive matter to deal with.
A Power of Attorney document allows the granter (you) to give authority to someone they trust to handle their affairs and their financial or welfare requirements. The attorney can be your spouse, a son, a daughter, a friend or anyone you trust.
Your attorney can sign documents on your behalf, withdraw money to pay your accounts, manage your investments, arrange care and do the things that you would normally handle yourself, were you fit to do so.
To put a Power of Attorney in place a person must be of sound mind at the time of signing (a Doctor's signature is required, stating that the granter understands the nature and extent of the document he/she is signing). The Power of Attorney is only effective upon incapacity (unless the granter chooses otherwise). Should a person become incapacitated but later recover then that person would simply resume handling their own affairs, signing documents, withdrawing money etc.
Preparing for the future, whatever it may hold, is one of the most prudent things you can do.
A Power of Attorney may save your family and friends a lot of stress and unnecessary expense and enable them to help you when you need it most.
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