Why make a power of attorney on the Isle of Man

A power of attorney is a legal document giving someone the authority to act on your behalf. There are two different types of power of attorney available, depending on your situation.

Ordinary power of attorney

If you want to enter into a legal transaction but are unable to sign the documents in person, for example, because you will be away, an ordinary power of attorney can grant someone else the authority to sign on your behalf.

This can be a useful tool if you are selling or buying a property and you know you won’t be around to execute the necessary paperwork. By making sure you have appointed someone to deal with the proceedings in your absence you minimise the risk of a sale or purchase falling through because of a delay.

The power of attorney can be specifically drafted to cover a single transaction and can be limited to certain assets. In the event that the person who has executed the power of attorney should lose mental capacity to act, then the power of attorney becomes invalid.

Enduring power of attorney

Conversely, an enduring power of attorney is specifically set up to give someone the power to deal with your affairs on your behalf, should you lose the ability to do so yourself. Without an enduring power of attorney in place, your loved ones would not be able to make any decisions or pay bills on your behalf and would need to make a lengthy court application for permission to do so.

Who should you give enduring power of attorney to?

Acting as an attorney for someone is a responsible job and can be time-consuming and complicated. It is important to choose someone who you trust absolutely, but who you also believe will be willing and able to act in this capacity. You should choose someone who will not be elderly themselves when the time comes, as they may not be in a position to take on such an onerous role.

You can choose more than one attorney if you wish, up to a maximum of four. You should bear in mind that if you do have more than one, they will need to get along with each other. You can give them each the power to act separately on your behalf, or alternatively require them to act jointly at all times.

What decisions can your attorney make on your behalf?

You can specify exactly what your attorney may do on your behalf and which assets they may deal with. For example, you can grant them power over all your property and affairs, or just over payment of bills or the sale of your home.

When will an enduring power of attorney come into force?

You may wish to grant an enduring power of attorney that can be used immediately, even if you are still able to manage your own affairs. This can be useful in the event that you find it difficult to travel to your bank or other financial institution.

Alternatively, you can stipulate that the attorney can only act on your behalf once you are unable to manage your own affairs. In that event, the attorney will need to apply to the court to register the enduring power of attorney and must provide medical evidence that you have lost the mental capacity to act on your own behalf.

Legal advice

Because a power of attorney gives away your legal authority, you should always seek independent legal advice before signing. You should also ensure that the document is properly drafted and that it covers exactly what you want it to cover and nothing else. If the power is ambiguous or flawed, disagreements can arise, which can result in family disputes and even legal action.

If the power of attorney is clear and well-written, the risk of misunderstanding will be minimised. At Quinn Legal we are experienced in drafting powers of attorney to cover all eventualities. We will discuss your needs and advise you on the type of attorney and the powers that it should include.

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