More and more people are confronted with family or acquaintances who find themselves in situations where it is difficult or impossible to make responsible decisions. For example, when someone can no longer act themselves due to illness or an accident. It regularly leads to insecurity or disagreement within the family. ‘It doesn’t have to get that far,’ says Nora van Oostrom of the Royal Notarial Association (KNB). ‘In a so-called living will, you can indicate in advance who will make decisions for you if you can no longer do so yourself.’
Confidential counselors, one of the first questions when drawing up a living will be: who do you trust, and who will be allowed to make decisions on your behalf? ‘Who allows you to make personal or medical decisions on your behalf or to arrange banking affairs depends on your situation,’ explains Van Oostrom. The KNB has developed a checklist to inventory what wishes someone has and what you need to think about before drawing up a living will.
Accounting and accountability experience shows that questions about the end of life, money management, or selling the house can be confronting. Nevertheless, people must think about this carefully and in good time, emphasizing Van Oostrom again. Jeannette now has power of attorney. Her aunt has had a living will be drawn up at the notary, where she has designated her niece as the person who can represent her. Twice a year, Jeannette must report to the civil law notary. ‘Then all income and expenses above a certain amount are reviewed. That is how it is laid down in the living will, and that is how it is good. As a girl, I always stayed with my aunt. Now I can finally give her something back, Jeannette concludes. “That’s a good feeling.”
Banking Power of Attorney
You can arrange a banking power of attorney free of charge at your bank. After putting in your signature, a power of attorney is immediately valid. With a banking power of attorney, you give someone permission to pay bills and withdraw money on your behalf. That person is called the proxy. You can also arrange for the authorized representative to view your banking affairs if you wish. Then they can see all credits and debits on your bank account and the balance of your bank and savings accounts.
General Power of Attorney
In a general power of attorney, you can specify that someone else may arrange all your banking and other financial affairs. For example, the proxy may sell your house and car, buy or sell shares and give money to your grandchildren or charities. The authorized person can access all your bank accounts, including savings accounts. Therefore, you must have complete confidence in the person or persons you provide a general power of attorney.
Special Power of Attorney
An extraordinary power of attorney only applies for a specific purpose or act. With an extraordinary power of attorney, you give someone permission to do something specific, for example, sell your house if you are permanently admitted to a nursing home.
It is How You Arrange a Power of Attorney
It is wise to register a general power of attorney with a notary. The notary checks that you are not pressured when signing a power of attorney. This way, there can be no ambiguity about this later, for example, if there is a disagreement between your children. How much you pay for a notarial power of attorney depends on how complex and extensive the document is. The rates also differ per notary.
When do you Make a Power of Attorney?
It is wise to make a power of attorney or a living will if you think you will soon no longer arrange your finances and other matters yourself. For example, because you are seriously ill, you must undergo major surgery or have been diagnosed with dementia. But you don’t have to wait for that. You can draw up a power of attorney or living will at any age. Which moment you choose is a personal choice.