There is a strong increase in the number of continuing power of attorneys - a pre-established power of attorney is easier for everyone in many ways
The number of confirmed continuing power of attorneys has increased significantly over five years. In 2015, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency confirmed about 1,500 power of attorneys, whereas in 2020, more than 4,600 power of attorneys were already confirmed. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency hopes that the popularity of the continuing power of attorney will increase.
"A continuing power of attorney would be hoped to be among every Finns documents, as it is in many ways a less cumbersome alternative than traditional guardianship," says Director Tom Marsti from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
The continuing power of attorney is not just a matter for the elderly. It can be drawn up by any adult who understands the content and importance of the continuing power of attorney. "It is never too early to prepare a continuing power of attorney, as life can change suddenly. An accident or illness that takes away functional capacity does not look at age, "emphasises Tom Marsti from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
Retain your sovereignty
"When you prepare a continuing power of attorney in advance, you can personally agree on who will take care of your affairs if you lose your functional capacity," says Marsti.
In the continuing power of attorney, you can explain how you wish your financial affairs to be handled and give the assignee more detailed instructions on, for example, selling your property or using your assets.
"In addition, you can agree on other matters that are important to you, such as what you wish for your health care or, for example, remembering your relatives' special days.” Such matters are not necessarily taken into account under traditional guardianship.
Easier and faster alternative for family and friends
For family and friends, the power of attorney is in many ways a lighter and faster alternative. "Once your wishes have been clearly agreed and recorded, the closely related do not need to guess them. In addition, the assignee does not need to apply for permits or make an annual account for the Digital and Population Data Services Agency ", Marsti lists the benefits of the power of attorney.
The assignee may start managing affairs agreed upon in the power of attorney, such as banking matters and agreements, when the Digital and Population Data Services Agency has confirmed the power of attorney. In order to be confirmed, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency requires not only the original power of attorney, but also a medical certificate that the person is not able to manage their affairs themselves. The processing at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency usually takes two to three months.
If a person does not have a continuing power of attorney and is no longer able to apply for a guardian, the appointment of a guardian will take longer. First, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency will examine the need for guardianship based on the notification received. "The processing of an application for guardianship takes on average six months at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. After this, the matter is transferred to the District Court, "says Marsti.
At the beginning of their duties, a person authorised by the continuing power of attorney must submit a property list to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. However, the continuing power of attorney does not usually require an annual account to be given to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency annually, as in traditional guardianship. It is often enough for the assignor that the assignee gives a final account at the end of their duties. If there are doubts about the activities of the assignee, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency may request the assignee to provide an account of the performance of their duties.
It is advisable to prepare the continuing power of attorney with an expert
Marsti recommends using an expert such as a law firm to draw up the power of attorney. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency does not offer a ready template for a power of attorney. "Different model documents can be found on many websites, but they may not take into account the individual situation of each person.”
Once a power of attorney has been drawn up, it is advisable to store it in an agreed location wherefrom it is available when necessary. "The power of attorney will only be delivered to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency if it must be confirmed due to the loss of the assignor's functional capacity," says Marsti.
In a nutshell
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency confirms the continuing power of attorney documents, processes the applications for guardianship and acts as the authority supervising guardianship.
By the end of May, some 13,500 continuing power of attorneys will be valid. The traditional guardianship covers approximately 75,000 Finns.
The number of power of attorneys drafted in advance is not known, as the power of attorney will not be sent to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency until the confirmation.
The Act on Continuing Powers of Attorney entered into force in November 2007.