Preparing for Travel – Powers of Attorney

During the Summer months our thoughts often turn to our holidays and the opportunity to travel.  It is not just Summer holidays that entice us abroad, long distance journeys all over the World are becoming much more common place.

Our travel plans often consist of making sure we have insurance in place to cover ourselves, our loved ones and our luggage, to look after us if problems arise while we are aboard.  However we do not often stop to consider who will be able to deal with our affairs at home if something should happen to us.

A power of attorney allows you to appoint a person of your choosing to be able deal with your affairs when you are unable to.  For example were a leak to occur at your property your attorney would not only be able to organise a plumber, but speak to your insurance company on your behalf and, if you authorised them to do so, access your bank account to pay any costs that may arise.  Due to strict data protection and money laundering regulations, without a power of attorney, neither the insurance company nor your bank would speak to any third party on your behalf. 

There are also the more serious long term issues that sadly could arise.  If the worst should happen and you have an accident while away that affects your mental capacity there will be no one who can access your personal financial affairs to assist you in the short term bringing you home, or in the long term in looking after you and your affairs.  However a Lasting Power of Attorney enables your chosen attorney to continue to act on your behalf in the event that you lose capacity. 

To prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney does take time.  The document has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used both while you have capacity and if you lose capacity.  At present it is taking up to three months to register this document so early planning is advisable.

However once you have your Lasting Power of Attorney in place this document will last your lifetime, unless you choose to revoke it.

If you do not have enough time to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can prepare a General Power of Attorney to provide short term cover.  A General Power of Attorney can only take effect while you have the capacity to authorise your attorney to use this.  Therefore this cannot be used if you lose mental capacity.

However a General Power of Attorney can be very useful to cover specific events while you are away, such as facilitating completion of a property transaction, or just allowing a chosen person access to your financial affairs for a fixed period of time while you are away.

So while checking your passport is in date and sorting out your travel insurance, make an appointment to come in and see us to discuss powers of attorney to ensure you are covered both at home and away.

To make an appointment or to get more details on the fixed fee prices we offer for preparing powers of attorney please contact Annabelle O’Higgins on 01752 292361 or Becky Bawler on 01752 292322.

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