TISA is an organisation which aims to help British citizens through a number of educational promotions and innovations in the financial services, and specifically in their new guide, with updates to their advice on the Power of Attorney.
This week, the group has released an important update and published a document which is intended to help those of you who may be involved in a battle to win Power of Attorney and what to do to manage your finances if this is the case.
If you are currently involved with divorce proceedings, there has been a death in the family or you are unfortunate enough to be bankrupt, you’ll be able to find some brilliant advice in the new publication.
However, if you need some guidance before diving right into the publication, here is a simple breakdown of what is included and more information on what the Power of Attorney is.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows one person to act on the behalf of another in financial, legal and care giving matters and the administration of deciding who gets it, is decided by financial services firms.
This is important for a huge number of families across the UK as Power of Attorney is what decides the future of children, mentally disabled people and the elderly if they are not able to make their own decisions.
At some stage in your life, it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself in a situation where a discussion needs to take place as an elderly parent may need to be put into a nursing home or you may have to battle for the care of children if you are going through a divorce.
We hope that you never have to endure a struggle, but it’s important that you know the ins and outs of the procedure.
What does it mean if you have been given a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney may fall to you if a loved one becomes mentally incapacitated or you become responsible for children after the loss of a parent’s life.
Carol Knight, chief operations officer at TISA said:
“Having to establish a Power of Attorney can be a very emotional and stressful time for anyone. When the time comes for the appointed person to make some financial decisions on behalf of the donor, all financial services organisations have a responsibility to make this process as pain free as possible.”
If a Power of Attorney is given, these are the steps to take:
- Check the document is an original or a certified copy.
- Photocopy or scan all documents and return to the sender immediately – this allows a copy to remain on file while ensuring the customer has their copy returned in good time. Duplicate and certified copies can be costly and often the document will need to be submitted to many firms.
- Check the donor has the mental capacity to support the use of the Power of Attorney, for example is an unregistered Enduring Power of Attorney being used for a person that has lost mental capacity?
- Check and record any restrictions detailed within the Power of Attorney.
- Check and record whether joint attorneys can act jointly, jointly and severally or a combination.
- Check whether any changes need to be made to the account, such as where statements should be sent or payments should be made.
- Complete any additional anti money laundering / customer due diligence checks required for any people with authority to act on the account.
- Update all relevant customer records to indicate the Power of Attorney has been received and who has authority to act on the account.
It’s important to be responsible if you are given the Power of Attorney as you effectively become the owner of all of the assets and savings of the person you are responsible for.
In cases where somebody’s ability to make decisions gets worse over time, it’s possible to get a Lasting Power of Attorney, as Sara Miles, Programme Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Society explains;
“A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be a very important part of advance planning for a time when a person with dementia is unable to make certain decisions for themselves.
It is vital that the person is at the heart of any decision to get an LPA, giving them a say in the decisions which will come later such as about how their money is spent or how they are cared for.
Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes. With more and more LPAs being made, it’s essential banks and other financial service providers make their staff aware of what they are and have systems and processes in place to deal with them in a sensible and consistent way.”
Unfortunately, as the population ages, the likes of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia and other degenerative diseases may rise significantly, which is why it’s important to understand the long term implications for you and your loved ones.
If you would like to read the full report, click here now.