Should you make your Powers of Attorney online?

6 October 2021
Alex Boden, Solicitor TEP

It is possible to make a Power of Attorney online, but whether you should is a different matter.

The process of making a Power of Attorney seems straightforward, but for those who are unfamiliar with the process, there are many potential pitfalls which could result in your application being rejected or your wishes not being carried out correctly.

In this article, we look at some of the reasons why it may be preferable to instruct a solicitor to advise you and to prepare your Power of Attorney rather than attempting to prepare your own online.

How do I make a valid Power of Attorney? 
Strict formalities must be followed for a Power of Attorney to be valid. For example there is a strict order as to who signs the document and if not followed, your Power of Attorney will be rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian. To be valid, and to be able to use the Power of Attorney, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Why use a solicitor to set up a Power of Attorney? 
When you instruct a solicitor to set up your Power of Attorney, your solicitor will be able to guide you through the two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, explaining how and when each one can be used and by whom. Your solicitor will be able to tailor their advice to your individual circumstances, which can be invaluable when preparing important documents such as these.

Your solicitor can explain who can be appointed to act as your attorney(s) and can explain what duties and obligations they will have as your attorney(s).

A Power of Attorney can operate in a number of different ways and your solicitor will explain the various options to you. Can attorneys make decisions alone, or must they make decisions jointly with others? Would you rather stipulate which decisions are to be made together and which they can make separately? Would you want your Attorneys under your Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney to be able to use the document as soon as registered, with your consent? Or only once you have lost capacity? These are just some of the questions that may arise during discussions with your solicitor that may otherwise be overlooked should you attempt to set up a Power of Attorney yourself.

Your solicitor can explain what would happen with your Power of Attorney documents should one of your attorneys predecease you or be otherwise unable to act (for example, if your attorney loses capacity).

Your solicitor will analyse your assets and liabilities to identify whether you need a separate power of attorney to cover any business interests.

You may also wish to set out your wishes for how your affairs should be managed; your solicitor will help you to express any wishes you have clearly. They can also advise on how these should be set out to ensure that all eventualities are covered, and your wishes can be carried out as you intended.

Your solicitor will explain the effects of a Power of Attorney to you clearly to ensure that you understand the effect of the document and the power you will be giving to your attorney(s), which can prevent the validity of the Power of Attorney from being challenged at a later date.

If you instruct a solicitor to prepare your Power of Attorney, you can be confident that it will be set up correctly and tailored to meet your individual needs and circumstances. In addition to this, your solicitor can also advise you on any additional steps you may wish to take, such as revising your will or inheritance tax planning.

If you would like a free initial consultation with one of our specialist Wills, Trusts & Estates team, contact us on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk.

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Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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