The Power of Attorney Act 1971

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Sunday, Nov 14th, 2010.

The power of attorney act was brought into power in 1971 as a piece of legal legislation. The act allows a person to hand over their right to make a decision about their legal position and finances to a nominated agent. Usually this act will be used due to a persons old age, due to a person becoming injured or as a result of person no longer being in fit health to make their own decisions. In 1971 this was regarded as a highly important piece of legislation and today it is still commonly used.

In the majority of cases the person acting as the agent, the person who will be handed the responsibility, will be a member of family or friend to the individual handing over the power. In some cases a power of attorney could be put in place without the consent of the person handing over the responsibility; this is very rare but can happen in extreme cases. The act was introduced in 1971 to ensure that people who are incapable of making their own decisions still get the best decision for them personally made for them by a nominated person. Generally a power of attorney will be put in place through a power of attorney letter. Most people will use a solicitor to put this in place but it is possible to produce the letter without a solicitor. In order for the act to be put in place there must have been at least two people witnessing the agreement.

A solicitor will be required to make the power of attorney letter legally binding. These letters can be put in place for a number of reasons, most commonly they are put in place in order to allow another person to handle the finances of another person. A power of attorney letter must be registered with the courts in order for it to become legal. Generally this will take between three to four months and will cost £120 to take through the courts. The person putting the power of attorney letter in place can choose up to five people who they wish to make aware of this legal right they will now hold. In most cases the people being nominated as agents have agreed to this prior to the act being agreed.

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