Nobody likes thinking about the fact that one day, due to illness or an accident, they may no longer be able to make their own decisions. The children and adult protection authority (KESB) may need to step in if you lose your decision-making capacity. But what happens then?

Helen A. (62) is strong and healthy. She keeps fit and likes going walking in the mountains with her husband. But what would happen if ...? She's already given the matter some thought. One thing is quite clear to her: she doesn't want the authorities making decisions for her if she becomes unable to do so at any point.

I am horrified by the idea that somebody from outside my family could suddenly start making decisions on my behalf.

Helen A.

If you lose your decision-making capacity, an authority will be legally assigned to defend your interests. The KESB will then appoint a legal advisor to make decisions on your behalf. Your closest relatives may continue to take care of small matters, but more important questions – such as those concerning immovable property – must be approved by the KESB.

Take action early on and designate a power of attorney in writing. You could for example appoint your spouse to represent you. Or your children. However, if you have more than one child, you must think carefully about who to entrust with your well-being. If you decide to divide the task between several children, you will need to define the relationship between them in the power of attorney, and determine which child should have the final say in matters.

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Did you know that ...

  • … if you don't designate a power of attorney, in some cantons it is compulsory for your liquid assets to be administered by certain banks?
  • … your spouse does not always automatically have the legal right to represent you?

How to protect yourself

Draw up a power of attorney as soon as possible. We have put together two documents containing further information for you. Order them now and we will be happy to send them to you by e-mail free of charge.

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