You may reach a point in your life where you are unable to manage looking after yourself (either financially or practically) due to some form of incapacity, therefore it is important to consider who you would put in this position of trust to manage your affairs.
The need for Powers of Attorney can happen when you are young or later on in life, due to illness or injury, so it's important that should the worst happen, there are provisions in place for someone to act on your behalf.
On 1st October 2007 and as a result of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, new Powers of Attorney were introduced. The Enduring Power of Attorney was replaced (although is still valid if set up prior to 1st Oct 2007 subject to certain rules) and 3 new powers were introduced.
Each of these powers serves a different purpose and it should be noted that Lasting Powers of Attorney have no legal standing until registered with the Office of The Public Guardian.
If the occasion arises and a Lasting Power is not in place then The Court Of Protection will appoint someone known as a Deputy to carry out the function. This can be expensive, extremely long winded, and is generally to be avoided at all costs!