There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf.
It could just be temporary: for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure that bills are paid. Or you may need to make more long-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia.
There are two types of power of attorney: ordinary and lasting.
1. Ordinary power of attorney
If you want to give someone full access to make decisions and take action concerning your finances while you still have mental capacity, you can set up an ordinary power of attorney.
This is a legal document giving someone else authority to act on your behalf. It is only valid while you still have mental capacity to make your own decisions about your finances, so that you can keep an eye on what the person making decisions for you (your attorney) is doing.
You can limit the power you give to your attorney so that they can only deal with certain assets, for example, your bank account but not your home.
2. Lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney gives someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf, if either you’re unable to in the future or you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of lasting powers of attorney - one for health and care decisions and one for financial decisions.