Whether you’re thinking about making your own power of attorney, or you’re wondering whether to nudge your parents, it’s easy to put things off. If all is well, can it wait?



When should you get a power of attorney set up?

As soon as possible. There’s no such thing as ‘too early’, especially if you’re wondering when to get power of attorney for elderly parents.

Why? You can only give someone power of attorney if you have the mental capacity to make that decision at that moment. If you wait, and something happens — an accident, or a condition like dementia becomes more serious — then it will be too late. 

For this reason, the best time to get a power of attorney set up is as soon as you think of it. Don’t delay.

Like a power of attorney, it’s best to make your will long before it is needed. After all: when it comes to protecting your family, there’s no time like the present. Click here to make a will online with Beyond today.


When do you get the power of attorney registered?

You can register the power of attorney as soon as the form is properly signed. Or you can wait until it is actually needed.

It’s best to register the power of attorney as soon as possible, however. That way, if there’s a mistake on the form, you can correct it before it’s too late to change. 

It can also take some time for the Office of the Public Guardian to get back to you — better to register it early and have it to hand when you need it.


When can you get a power of attorney activated?

If you’re one of the attorneys named on someone’s power of attorney, you may be wondering when you can actually step in. This depends on the type of PoA it is.


If it’s a health and welfare power of attorney, the donor has to have lost capacity

A health and welfare power of attorney lets you make decisions about someone’s medical treatments and day-to-day care. It can only ever be used if they are no longer able to make these decisions.

You can also only use the power of attorney to make specific decisions they can’t make: you need to let them do the things they can still manage for as long as possible.


If it’s a property and financial power of attorney, read it carefully 

In some cases, you can use a financial power of attorney right away. The power of attorney will say if this is the case.

If the PoA doesn’t say that, then you can only use it if the person who made it has lost the mental capacity to act. 


What happens when there is no power of attorney in place?

So, now you know when to get a power of attorney set up. But what if you are too late?

There is an alternative option you can use, if you need to help someone who has already lost the mental capacity to give their consent. It’s called becoming a deputy.

Becoming a deputy is more complicated and time-consuming than getting power of attorney. You have to be prepared for a great deal of scrutiny.

It’s also more costly. You need to pay a £365 application fee, plus £485 if the court decides your case needs a hearing. After you’ve been appointed as deputy, you have to pay an annual supervision fee. This could be £320 for general supervision or £35 for minimal supervision. You’ll also pay a £100 assessment fee if you’re a new deputy.

So, if it’s at all possible, it’s far better to get a power of attorney set up in good time.


Find out more

Ready to make a power of attorney? Excellent! You can find out more about how to get started here.


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