Appoint a Power of Attorney in 2016!
Over the past four decades, I’ve made more New Year’s resolutions than I care to remember – most of them involving abstinence from either sugar or carbs, and sometimes even from both sugar and carbs! I’m ashamed to confess that almost without exception, my resolve has slithered to a halt within the first few weeks of each successive January.
However, my New Year’s resolution for 2015 was different – different because instead of trying NOT to do something, my husband and I resolved to DO something, i.e. to register our Powers of Attorney before the year was out.
Our first step was to consider whom to select as our attorneys. As you may already know, there are two different types of power of attorney: Continuing (Financial) Power of Attorney and Welfare Power of Attorney. You can choose to appoint different attorneys for each type of PoA, but as we were happy for our two daughters to be both our Continuing and Welfare Attorneys, my husband and I asked our family lawyer to prepare a Combined Power of Attorney for each of us.
The documents were prepared by our solicitor and approved and signed by us, while our daughters each signed a document confirming that they were willing to act as our attorneys. All four documents were duly returned to our lawyer, who submitted them on our behalf to the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), and within a few weeks our daughters were officially registered as our attorneys.
Obviously, my husband and I hope very much that it will be many, many years before either of us has the misfortune to lose capacity. However, we both feel a huge sense of relief that should the unthinkable happen – and we are acutely aware that such things can happen completely out of the blue – our chosen attorneys will immediately be able to make decisions about our welfare and deal with any urgent financial matters without delay.
Granted, in addition to paying to register our Powers of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), we had to pay our lawyer for preparing the documents for us, but the fee was a fraction of the costs that our loved ones would have incurred had they been forced to embark on the long, expensive and stressful process of applying for a guardianship order via the court, which is what happens if you don’t have your chosen attorney(s) registered in advance.
And so it was that in 2015, for once, I actually kept my New Year’s resolution, which means that the other half and I are entering 2016 with complete peace of mind – and I can tell you it feels good!