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Lasting powers of attorney: what you need to know

Mar 23, 2022.

In case you ever end up in a situation where you are left with impaired judgement, it is worth thinking about lasting powers of attorney ahead of time. This does not just help make this extremely difficult time easier for your loved ones: it makes it easier for you, too. Why? Because it enables you to ensure people are acting in line with your wishes and needs. Information on living wills can be found in our article “Living wills: why you need one”.

Lasting power of attorney: what happens with your assets and your business?

People are generally not as familiar with the idea of a lasting power of attorney as they are with living wills, but it is just as important. A lasting power of attorney ensures that your wishes are respected if you become unable to make decisions for yourself and makes sure that you are represented by the person you want. This person may be your spouse, a business partner or a lawyer. It is also possible to give power of attorney to more than one person for different purposes. A lasting power of attorney has two parts:

  • In a personal lasting power of attorney, you give instructions on where and how you are to be cared for if you should become incapacitated, for instance. If you do not have a living will, you can also use it to stipulate instructions regarding medical matters.
  • In a financial lasting power of attorney, you give instructions on how your assets and your business are to be managed. This is especially important if you are self-employed. You can also set out instructions regarding your investment strategy and any gifts you wish to make to those surviving you.

             

Generali tip: A lasting power of attorney does not take the place of a will. Formulating a will is also not something you can delegate to a third person. Therefore, you should draw this up as early as possible. This article provides more information on this topic.

 

handwritten or publicly notarised

The form in which your lasting power of attorney is drawn up is critical: it must be written in your own hand or publicly notarised. You can find sample documents online that you can copy by hand yourself and then complete with your signature and the date and place. If it is not possible for you to draw up your lasting power of attorney as a hand-written document, you must have it notarised by a public notary. Here you can find a notary near you.

 

Keep the original of your lasting power of attorney somewhere it can be easily found. You can also upload it to a central database or, in some places in Switzerland, deposit it at the civil registry office. Give a copy to the persons you have designated in your lasting power of attorney. Should the document need to be exercised in an emergency, your relatives will have to present it to the children and adult protection authority (KESB). They will check whether it is valid and the persons designated in it are fit to fulfil the requirements.

 

Generali tip: In an emergency, it can be difficult for relatives to find important documents. Keep your important papers like your ID, lasting power of attorney and living will in one place and let your relatives know where they are.

Find out more

Read part 1, «Living wills: why you need one», and find out how to ensure your wishes are heeded, even when you are left with impaired judgement.

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