The world is still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that, for most people, was entirely unexpected.  One stark lesson that has arisen from such an unprecedented situation is that young adults cannot assume, as in the past, that youth or fitness is sufficient to assume that there is no urgent need for contingency plans for the future protection of those for whom they have assumed responsibility such as their children if they are not able to.

Many people bear responsibility for others, adult children frequently manage an elderly relatives affairs without giving any thought to what would happen if they themselves lose capacity.  As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe, whilst in a less virulent form, nobody can tell if or when they may suddenly be unable to fulfil the responsibilities.

Few young adults consider what would happen to their dependent family if they could not make their own decisions.  Married couples often assume that the spouse can assume all responsibilities but this may not be the case for everything that may be required.   

There an extremely simple solution that has more than one application.  A Power of Attorney enables responsibility to be placed into another person's hands, either temporarily or on a permanent basis, depending on the situation. 

Giambrone & Partners' private client lawyers point out that a Power of Attorney has more than one application and is not just for fading elderly relatives who are unable or unwilling to navigate the challenges of their own finances or for the temporary incapacity of grave illness.  Individuals with dealings overseas can grant a Power of Attorney to their professional representatives to act on your behalf with absolute authority to protect your interests enabling real estate purchase, business transactions and financial matters such as an overseas investment to be dealt with.

The types of powers of attorney that are currently available are an Ordinary Power of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney.  Previously there was an Enduring Power of Attorney which was superseded in 2007.  An Enduring Power of Attorney that was drafted prior to 2007 is still valid.  An Ordinary Power of Attorney would be ideally suited to provide the required level of ability to deal with a person's affairs whilst temporarily incapacitated, enabling a named individual to act on their behalf until such time as they recovered their competence.

The donor - the person requiring to another person to deal with their affairs - can commission an Ordinary Power of Attorney enabling - the attorney - the person to be given authority over their affairs for only one person.   The period of time that the Ordinary Power of Attorney is granted can be limited.  It can also be limited to one particular transaction, for example as in an overseas property purchase.  Should the donor wish to have more than one person to have such authority over their affairs, as a precaution, a separate Power of Attorney must be drawn up for each Attorney.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney does not require registration and it can continue indefinitely if it is not restricted initially to a time period.  Also, the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 provides the wording.   If at any time the Attorney loses capacity or if they become bankrupt the Power of Attorney automatically terminates; similarly should either the donor or the attorney die it terminates.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is widely used by individuals that travel widely and also have business interests and other responsibilities in the UK, an Ordinary Power of Attorney will provide the same protection in the UK, as well as those who have an expanding overseas property portfolio.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.