Choosing a POA: Putting peace of mind in place

The Exeter & East Devon team work alongside a variety of contacts when providing support. Powers of Attorney (POA) are one such contact.

Who might need a POA (Power of Attorney)?

Those for whom making important decisions may become challenging in the future, have the option of putting trusted and reliable guidance in place by instructing a ‘Power of Attorney’. Considering this option is not only sensible, but essential. Should you fear that you or a loved one may lose the capacity to make important decisions at some point in the future, putting a Power of Attorney (POA) in place may provide valuable peace of mind. Your attorney could be a family member, friend, spouse or civil partner, or they could be a professional, such as a solicitor.

If you are considering appointing a Power of Attorney, it is a good idea to discuss the prospect with family and friends ahead of making decisions. This also gives you the opportunity to have a frank and open ‘care conversation’ about your own wishes for the future, which is vital. It is also important to factor in time for the application to be processed with the relevant authorities, which can take in excess of five months.

Finding the person, people or organisation that you can fully trust to carry out your wishes, can be difficult. It is an incredibly important decision as they could ultimately have full control of your affairs, in all regards. There is the option of appointing more than one POA, should you think one party would be better at arranging matters related to care for example, and another better suited to financial decision making, or of instructing a legal representative to do so.

It is important to note that Power of Attorney rights end when the ‘donor’ (person they are representing) deceases. At this point, the allocated Executors will be the point ongoing point of contact for all parties.

Why appoint a POA in advance?

Substantial care is often required at short notice – it’s rarely planned for. Clarifying feelings with regard to where you or your loved one would prefer to live, the daily routine you would hope to follow and the things that matter to you, such as food preferences and even the way you like to dress and present yourself, are all important aspects of a person’s life and character, and should be noted. Making plans and having open and honest discussions about your wishes for the future can mean that when the time comes, support can be put in to place swiftly, and most importantly, in accordance not only with yours or your loved ones needs in mind but considering wishes too.

What is the process?

The next, and most sensible step is to involve a recommended solicitor. They can provide trustworthy, impartial, and importantly, highly informed advice regarding planning, property, finance and of course the instruction of health and welfare care services, such as ourselves. On this note, Social Care funding in England is changing in October 2023, so it is important to be informed. Trusted sources such as a solicitors, or CQC regulated home care providers, such as Home Instead, may be able to offer advice.

What are the options?

It is often considered that moving into residential care is the only option for someone needing support on a daily or long term basis, but this is not the case as discussed in our recent article, ‘Home Care or Care Home?’ HERE. Hourly, overnight, 24 hour or Live-In home care provision can provide outstanding support for similar cost, and all from the comfort and familiarity of home, so it is worth exploring your options.

Who should I contact?

Appropriate legal organisations will have a dedicated Later Life Planning team or similar, or may have specialist Private Client team members. Reputable organisations will be happy to offer advice with regard to the POA process, and charities such as Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society offer a variety of online guides and resources too.

If you would like advice or information regarding our ‘outstanding in all areas’ home care, please don’t hesitate to call our team on 01395 200600, take a look around our website or find us on Facebook and discover why we are different.