Powers of Attorney – Start the Conversation

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

You may have seen references to “Start the Conversation” or “My Power of Attorney” on TV and  across social media recently.  The campaign was originally started by Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to raise awareness of the importance of Powers of Attorney.  It has become a nationwide campaign to encourage individuals and families to talk about and proactively put in place a Power of Attorney irrespective of age or financial circumstances.

What is a Power of Attorney?

It is a legal document which gives someone you trust authority to act and make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.  Anyone over the age of 16 can grant a Power of Attorney.  Powers of Attorney are traditionally associated with the elderly but an accident or illness could cause you to lose capacity at any time and so you are never too young to consider putting one in place.  It is an important part of lifetime legal planning and is effectively an insurance policy to safeguard your affairs in the future.

Why is it so important?

If someone loses capacity it can often come as a tremendous shock that their immediate family or “next of kin” have no automatic legal authority to look after their affairs.  Without a Power of Attorney, your assets are essentially frozen, no-one has the power to deal with your money, manage your welfare or make important decisions on your behalf.  If you have lost capacity and have not granted Power of Attorney then a much more lengthy and expensive Guardianship application must be made to the court instead. 

How do you make a Power of Attorney?

It is a straightforward process:-

  1. Select your Attorney or Attorneys.
  2. Decide if a substitute Attorney is appropriate.
  3. Decide whether the Attorney (or Attorneys) will deal with your financial and/or welfare matters.
  4. Arrange an appointment with one of our lifetime legal team.  We can talk you through the process and prepare the Power of Attorney.  It must be signed in the presence of a Scottish solicitor or doctor and we can then arrange for it to be formally registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland.

Often, the hardest part about having conversations about Powers of Attorney and other aspects of lifetime legal planning is simply starting the conversation.  Why not do that today by contacting one of our Lifetime Legal team on 01383 721141.

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