You should prepare and enter into, while you are still able to do so, a Power of Attorney (for legal and financial matters; see Representation Agreement below for hospital and medical matters) to appoint another person or persons to make decisions for you in the event that you become, temporarily or permanently, physically or mentally unable to make those decisions yourself. It is imperative that the person you appoint as your Attorney must be someone you trust to make these decisions on your behalf.
Under the Power of Attorney Act, there are two types of Power of Attorney. The first is a General Power of Attorney, which ceases to have any force upon the event of the adult losing capacity. The second is an Enduring Power of Attorney, which either comes into effect when, or was already in effect and remains in effect after, the adult has lost capacity.
There are in general two types of Enduring Power of Attorney. The first, which only comes into effect when the adult loses capacity, is more generally known as a Springing Power of Attorney. The Attorney’s authority only takes effect after a doctor (in an urgent situation) or two (under ordinary circumstances) has confirmed that you no longer have the capacity to make legal or financial decisions.
The second general type of Enduring Power of Attorney takes effect immediately upon signing by both you and the Attorney (and hence before you have lost the capacity to make decisions), so that your Attorney under the Power of Attorney could make decisions or act in your place, but you would have the final say until and unless you lose capacity. Your Attorney’s authority to make decisions on your behalf would continue after you have lost the capacity to make decisions, without the need for a doctor to confirm your lack of capacity.
All types of Powers of Attorneys, be they general, springing or enduring, are very flexible in terms of what particular property or assets they can be made to apply to, and the powers and restrictions that your attorney is able to exercise with regard to the property or assets. A Power of Attorney can be drafted to cover all of your assets, or only certain assets. You can have more than one Power of Attorney, each dealing with different assets. You can have different restrictions on your Attorney’s ability to deal with different assets. The authority to act can be for an indefinite period, or until revoked, or for a set period of time.
Although it is not usually done, you can also appoint a Monitor who would have access to your financial and legal records, but with only a power to review them (and thus decisions made by your Attorney), but no power to make decisions on your behalf.