News & insights
Can you make Power of Attorney online?
21st October 2021
From ordering a pizza to sharing your photos or going on a date, it seems that everything is done online these days. This may lead you to think about sorting out your legal matters remotely, and how possible it is to make a Power of Attorney (POA) without setting foot in a solicitor’s office.
While it is technically possible to make a Power of Attorney online, whether you should is an entirely different matter. The process appears straightforward, but for those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies, there are many potential pitfalls that could result in an application being rejected or wishes not being carried out correctly.
A quick trawl on Google shows a variety of businesses, which offer the option of online Power of Attorney and can be difficult to know on spec whether these businesses are legitimate, or what level of service and assistance is being offered.
It is important to consider that for a Power of Attorney to be valid, it must be signed by any nominated attorneys, as well as witnesses, and also be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
When you use a solicitor, you can be confident that it will be set up correctly and tailored to meet your needs and circumstances.
They will not only set up the Power of Attorney, but can also provide you with essential advice. For example, they can help you decide who you should appoint as your attorney, ensure that they are willing and able to act, and understand their duties and obligations.
Your solicitor can also help you to set out clearly how your Power of Attorney should operate. For example, can attorneys make decisions alone, or must they make decisions jointly with others? How should the Power of Attorney operate if assets are owned jointly or held abroad? Do you need a separate Power of Attorney to cover your business interests? These are just some of the issues that are often overlooked when people attempt to set up a Power of Attorney using an online service without consulting a solicitor.
You may also want to set out your wishes for how your affairs should be managed; a solicitor will help you to express this clearly. They can also advise on how these should be set out to ensure that all eventualities are covered.
Your solicitor will explain the effects of a POA to you clearly to ensure that you understand, which can prevent its validity being challenged at a later date. They can also advise you on any additional steps you may wish to take, such as updating your will or inheritance tax planning.
Nicola specialises in Trusts, estates and tax planning. She is highly experienced in dealing with the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney, including the assessment of capacity. Nicola is also proficient at handling Probate matters and the administration of estates, together with assisting clients with their estate planning and Trusts. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange an appointment to speak to her or a member of the team.
Nicola Johnston (TEP)