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Are you pondering questions of guardianship? – This new guide from the Suomi.fi Web Service provides detailed instructions    

Publication date 15.2.2022 7.00 | Published in English on 15.2.2022 at 11.20
Press release

Matters related to guardianship and managing finances and other practical matters, whether one’s own of those of a loved one, are often complex and baffling. The Suomi.fi Web Service’s Guide to Guardianship and Power of Attorney provides clear instructions for different situations. The guide has been put together by drawing on the expertise of multiple authorities and organisations.  

In shaping the Guardianship or continuing power of attorney guide’s content and service design, the cooperation network led by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency first identified various guardianship situations and the key issues involved in each of them. 

“Our guiding principle has been that less is more. In guardianship issues, it is easy for the person and their particular questions to get lost in the flood of information. We have identified the key situations and provided answers to the questions that these situations raise. This guide can direct you to the right address for moving things forward,” says Specialist Minna Mäkinen from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. 

“More and more Finns are needing to grapple with guardianship issues. For example, there is increased awareness about power of attorney, but also often a desire for the way forward to be more clearly marked out. The new guide therefore provides specific guidance for people seeking information about specific life situations,” adds Advisory Services Coordinator Mailis Heiskanen from the Alzheimer Society of Finland.

Similar guides have been published previously in the Suomi.fi Web Service for groups such as family caregivers and those considering this role.

How can I prepare for my future with a power of attorney or act as the assignee of a power of attorney?

Every adult citizen should have a power of attorney safely stored in their filing cabinet. It can be used to instruct and authorize people that you trust should you lose your functional capacity due to illness or accident. The Suomi.fi guide provides advice on drafting a power of attorney as well as on the things to take into account when doing so. 

The trusted person recorded as the assignee in a power of attorney document is then faced with a very new situation when the time comes to confirm the power of attorney and start taking care of the practical matters of their loved one. Suomi.fi also provides guidance for this new situation. 
“By making a power of attorney, you can avoid guardianship even if one day you would need another person to handle your affairs. Unfortunately, power of attorney is often confused with guardianship. The new guide makes it easier to understand the differences and encourages people to write up a power of attorney,” explains researcher Henna Nikumaa from the University of Eastern Finland.  

What to do if a loved one's functional capacity deteriorates or if a child has property?

Many people start to think about guardianship when they are worried about a loved one’s ability to cope or the deterioration of their functional capacity. What is the best way to handle the banking, financial and other everyday matters of a loved one? Suomi.fi gives an overview of the different options – including both lighter options and arrangements for guardianship. 

It often comes as a surprise to parents that, in certain situations, the details and care of a child's property must be reported to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. If a child is a shareholder of the estate of a deceased person and has property in excess of EUR 20,000, a guardian is appointed for them. This is done in order to safeguard the best interests of the child in all situations. The guide provides clear instructions for such situations.

The guide has been produced through extensive cooperation between different authorities and organisations

A wide range of peer support providers, organisations, researchers, and public authorities have joined forces and pooled expertise to ensure that all the relevant information, services and support providers can now be found in one place. 

This following organisations have participated in producing the guide: the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the University of Eastern Finland – Center of Law and Welfare, North Karelia Guardianship Office, Rauma Guardianship Office, the Central Association of Finnish Pensioners, Fine, Finfami, the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Kehitysvammaisten Tukiliitto ry, the Alzheimer Society of Finland, Nuoret lesket ry, Carers Finland, Suomen muistiasiantuntijat ry and VTKL – the Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People. 

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