By using a Power of Attorney, a person (the donor) gives authority to someone else (the attorney) to act on their behalf and manage their personal affairs.
A Power of Attorney might be limited to some specific matter, for example to sell a property whilst the donor is abroad, but it is usual to give the attorney the widest powers over the donor’s affairs.
General Powers of Attorney have not only been used by those anticipating trips abroad, but usually as a matter of prudence by those concerned with what would happen should they suddenly become ill or suffer an accident.
General Powers of Attorney can also be used to provide interim property and affairs cover whilst the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney is being registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
However, a General Power of Attorney does not cover mental incapacity and once the donor becomes mentally incapable then the attorney can no longer act.
This means that application has to be made to the Court of Protection for assistance if a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney has not been made. This results in delays and expenses and often distress due to the continuous involvement of the Court of Protection thereafter.