Although we all hope to enjoy excellent physical and mental health throughout our lives, sadly this is not possible for everybody.
If you are worried that you may not be able to look after your own affairs indefinitely then a Lasting Power of Attorney provides a means of ensuring that you can decide who looks after your affairs for you and not have the decision made by someone else.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a flexible document that enables you to express your wishes in clear terms and set conditions which must be followed by your appointed attorney.
You are free to choose anyone you please to act as your attorney provided that they are an adult.
You can also make a Lasting Power of Attorney as a precaution so that it is kept to one side and only comes into operation if you subsequently become incapable of dealing with your own affairs.
If you become mentally incapable of looking after your own affairs and you have not made a Power of Attorney then the appropriate authorities will take over your affairs by means of the appointment of a Deputy by the Office of the Public Guardian.
This can be a very lengthy and expensive process and may cause considerable stress and inconvenience to your family.
You will have no say in who is appointed as Deputy and the appointment will be at the discretion of a civil servant in the Office of the Public Guardian (formerly known as the Court of Protection) and although the person in charge of your case may seek advice from family and friends there is no guarantee as to who will be chosen to become your Deputy.
In addition, all decisions relating to your personal welfare and your property and finances will be made by the Office of the Public Guardian and your family will not have any discretion or ability to deal with your affairs.
In addition, you will have lost the opportunity to specify your wishes as to your medical treatment as would have been possible had you made a Lasting Power of Attorney.