Can you have power of attorney over a UK resident if you are living abroad? Find out here…
Illness, accidents, and old age. These are just a few of the reasons why power of attorney is used to protect people and their assets. Power of attorney (POA) is a way of giving legal authority to a trusted individual so that they can make decisions related to finance, property, health care, etc.
You do not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen to have power of attorney over a UK relative. In fact, many people use a power of attorney who lives abroad, especially when buying property.
Here are our 7 top tips for having power of attorney over a UK relative…
1. Understand the different types of power of attorney available to you
Before you gain power of attorney over a relative, you need to be aware of the three different types available and what they entail. Not understanding these key differences can lead to confusion and costly mistakes.
- Ordinary POA. This allows an attorney to make decisions for a temporary period of time regarding any financial affairs whilst an individual is preoccupied.
- Lasting POA. In the event that an individual loses mental capacity, or decides that they no longer want to make their own decisions, lasting power of attorney can be grated to allow choices to be made regarding finance, health, and care.
- Enduring POA. Although enduring power of attorney has now been replaced by lasting power of attorney, it may still be valid if signed before 1 October 2007. In this case, the attorney will have the ability to make decisions regarding property and financial affairs in the event that someone loses mental capacity or wants to relinquish their say in these areas.
2. Confirm that you are capable of being an attorney
The only requirement for an attorney is that you are eighteen or older and have sound mental capabilities. However, when deciding if you want to accept the responsibility that comes with having power of attorney over a relative, we recommend considering the following questions.
- How well do you know them? Do you share plenty of mutual trust?
- Will you be happy to make decisions regarding the finances, health, and care of your relative?
- Are you secure enough in your own affairs that you will be ok to take on the responsibilities of making decisions regarding someone else’s?
3. Know how to help your overseas relative by having power of attorney
There are many reasons why someone may want to give power of attorney to someone overseas. For example, if you are living in Portugal and you have the power of attorney over a family member living in the UK, you can make decisions regarding any property or assets that they may have in Portugal, saving them time and money travelling back and forth.
Other benefits include…
• Making decisions regarding inheritance
• Organising and monitoring oversea property transactions
• Making choices regarding the health and care of a relative
• Helping manage foreign corporate transactions
• Assisting with cross border litigation
4. Know the two methods of gaining overseas power of attorney
Gaining overseas power of attorney is not as complex as many people fear. Depending on where the attorney is, there are two ways that you can achieve this:
1. An overseas attorney can be created within foreign jurisdiction to ensure that it is in line with local laws. When taking this approach, it is crucial that the POA is signed and witnessed by a notary.
2. For a UK attorney, a POA should be professionally translated into the relevant language. It must also be validated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and certified by a notary.
5. Consider joint power of attorney
It is possible for multiple people to have power of attorney over single individual finance and health. In a situation like this, it should be clearly stated from the beginning whether decisions will be made separately or if they will have to decide together. This is called being appointed jointly and requires all attorneys to agree before a decision can be carried out.
6. Don’t get lost in translation
Some countries will require you to have the documentation for power of attorney translated into the local language. If you don’t do this, it is possible that the POA will not be valid under some jurisdictions.
This can also apply to apostilles. For example, Portugal is a member of Hague Convention. This means that they may require an apostille on official documents, like the power of attorney, to confirm that it is genuine. These countries issue their own apostille and may request that you provide an apostille on your documents.
To get an apostille, the POA must have validation and legalisation from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and have been certified by a solicitor or notary.
7. Consider the effects if you move abroad
If you move aboard whilst you are an attorney, you may need to seek legal advice to ensure that you have all the documentation needed to confirm that the power of attorney is still recognised and enforced.
Depending on the country you are moving to, you could find that the jurisdiction has a different definition of mental capacity and other aspects of your POA that bring its validity into question. Contact a specialist if you are concerned to ensure that you are prepared for any situation.
Having Power of Attorney Over a UK Resident
It is possible and can be mutually beneficial to have the power of attorney over a relative, friend, or co-worker living in the UK. But like in any situation, it is important to have all the facts and prepare for every outcome.
Whether you need to know more about the ins and outs of a POA, or if you want to ensure your power of attorney will be valid, contact a legal specialist who can provide tailored advice based on your unique situation.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes
only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a legal professional. Be sure to consult a solicitor if you’re seeking advice about power of attorney. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.