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'Power of Attorney'

At some point the person you are caring for may no longer be able to look after their own affairs. This may be for a short term or long term period of time. A power of attorney is the legal solution to this. It is the legal authority to act on behalf of another person (as their "attorney", or in Northern Ireland their "controller"). The attorney can do almost anything that the person themselves could do, other than things which require personal knowledge or appearance such as signing a will.

Power of attorney falls into two main categories: ordinary and enduring. Ordinary is suitable for short periods such as a hospital stay. Enduring power is more comprehensive and gives the person continuing powers in situations such as someone becoming mentally ill. It must be arranged early on by the person who is giving the power before they become too confused to handle their own business. A Solicitor can draw up a power of attorney for you.If the person is already too confused to manage their own affairs, you will need to make an application for appointment as a receiver (or controller in Northern Ireland).

  • If the person concerned lives in England or Wales and you want to carry out the formalities yourself you can contact: The Court of Protection, Public Trust Office, Stewart House, 24 Kingsway, London WC2B 6JX Tel: 0171 269 7000.

  • If the application relates to someone who lives in Northern Ireland, then you should apply to become that person's Controller, via the Office of Care & Protection, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast Tel: 01232 235111.

  • If the application relates to someone who is living in Scotland, the situation is more complex. You must apply to their local Sheriff's Court. You are strongly advised to take legal advice.

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