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In general, a Power of Attorney (POA) is used to provide for the situation where you might become unable to make decisions in the future. The key thing to remember is that you can't 'take out' a POA in relation to someone else.A POA is very useful when someone is diagnosed with a progressive illness like dementia. It might also be helpful for people with mental health conditions who have periods where they are unwell.

A POA can be granted to deal with financial and/or welfare decisions. The financial powers can start immediately or become effective if you lose capacity. Welfare powers will only ever ‘kick in’ if and when you lose capacity.

People often assume that important decisions about money, care or medical treatment could be taken by their partner or ‘next of kin’.  However, they will have no automatic right to make decisions unless they have been legally appointed.   This is why everyone should think about granting a POA.  It’s your opportunity to make it clear who you want to make decisions for you, if required. It can also avoid the need for a more complicated guardianship application at a later date.

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