Frozen Plenipotentiary

Any one of us can be cancelled at any time, be it due to an accident or a serious illness.
In a state of limited or lacking legal capacity, however, the question quickly arises as to who can act for us, who can make declarations and who should make decisions.
If the person concerned has not taken any precautions, the state will appoint an official guardian in court. This person takes over all decisions and representation rights. The family members then have no rights.
You should therefore appoint a person you trust as your representative and determine precisely the content of his or her duties and the scope of his or her powers.

At least: a care order

If a person of full age is no longer legally competent and is not represented, the guardianship court appoints a guardian for his or her asset management and/or personal care. Relatives are not automatically chosen as guardians, but often strangers, such as lawyers, professional guardians or guardianship associations.

However, the court is usually guided by the previous information provided by the person concerned as to which persons should or should not be appointed as caretakers. The guardianship order thus serves to regulate the person’s own care or that of relatives. This order must be regulated outside of the will, which is not the case when the person dies. A care order can also be proposed for the financial and personal care of surviving relatives, such as parents, surviving spouses or disabled children.

Better: the power of attorney of care

If a proper power of attorney for pension purposes exists, the court will not appoint a guardian. As a precautionary measure, however, the power of attorney should also name the authorised representative as a guardian.

This is what the Federal Chamber of Notaries says:

“The Central Register of Benefits (ZVR) is the registration office for private as well as notarial powers of attorney, care directives and living wills from all over Germany. With the ZVR, the legislator provides you with a register system so that your pension provision certificate can also be found in the event of care. 1.7 million citizens have already registered their pension provision certificate in the Central Pension Provision Register. The Federal Chamber of Notaries – a public corporation with its headquarters in Berlin – manages the Central Provision Register on behalf of the law under the legal supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The ZVR is consulted more than 20,000 times a month from all over Germany.”

The topics

  • Who should be my general representative for my business affairs?
  • When should the power of attorney come into effect?
  • How can I terminate it?
  • Who should represent me in the company as a shareholder?
  • Who is to represent me in the management of the company?
  • Have I issued effective bank powers of attorney?
  • Who should have power of attorney in my personal affairs?
  • Who decides about my hospital stay?
  • How do I wish to be treated medically?
  • What should be included in my living will?
  • Do I want to avoid organ donation abroad?
  • How can I restrict the power of attorney?
  • Who should be the substitute proxy?




Round Table

We rightly talk about these topics in our Round Table meetings. The Round Table is an action of Herfurth & Partner and serves to clarify and secure wishes and decisions in the family in connection with assets, provision and succession.

The next dates can be found in the Round Table section (welcome homepage).


Further information on many topics can be found in the Publications section (welcome homepage).

Your counsellor

Angelika Herfurth

Attorney at law and specialist lawyer for family law

Learn more under ABOUT US

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