Putting your affairs in the hands of someone you can depend on
There may come a time when we are incapable of looking after our own affairs, whether because of an accident, illness or a need to travel far away from where our interests are based. In these and other circumstances, it is possible to appoint someone we trust to care of our finances and/or welfare via a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document registered with the Public Guardian that names the person, or people, we want to have the legal authority to make decisions about our welfare and finances.
Why make a Power of Attorney?
There are many advantages of having a power of attorney:
- Guarantee that people you trust will be in control
You will be able to choose who, and how many people, will make decisions on your behalf when you are incapable of making them yourself. It is important that the people you choose are those that you trust and can depend on, such as a family member, friend or lawyer.
- Ensure your wishes are respected
Not only can you guarantee who will make decisions on your behalf, you can also ensure that those decisions are made in accordance with your expressed wishes and instructions. The person you appoint must act in your best interests, and there are safeguards in place to make sure they do so. For instance, an attorney has to keep and submit thorough records of their actions, which are closely scrutinised.
What does a Power of Attorney cover?
There are different types of power of attorney in Scotland, and different attorneys can be appointed for each different type:
A continuing power of attorney grants someone the legal authority to make decisions about your property and finances, and it can come into effect while you are still capable of making decisions yourself, or in the event that you become incapable of doing so.
A welfare power of attorney grants someone the legal authority to make decisions about your health and wellbeing, and it only comes into effect once you have lost capacity to make decisions yourself.
A combined power of attorney is a mix of the two above, granting someone the legal authority to makes decisions relating to both your finances and welfare.
How is a Power of Attorney created?
To be properly constituted, a power of attorney must:
- be contained in a clearly written and signed document;
- include a statutory certificate confirming your capacity signed by a solicitor, advocate or medical practitioner; and
- be registered with the Public Guardian.
It is also possible to cancel or vary the terms of a power of attorney.
Why use a solicitor to make a Power of Attorney?
When you make a power of attorney, you are giving someone power over you in the future when you are highly likely to be particularly vulnerable. It is worth seeking legal advice to ensure that your best interests are protected. Courts do not take matters of capacity lightly, so powers will be interpreted strictly. It is therefore important to make sure that the document is clear and comprehensive. Further, as with Wills, there are certain legal requirements that must be met when drafting a power of attorney if it is to be valid. Our expert private client solicitors can advise on these issues and more, assisting with drafting and registering a power of attorney that will make sure you are protected when you need it.
How can Davidson & Shirley Solicitors can help?
In the event that we cannot make decisions for ourselves – because of an accident, illness or simply because we are getting older – it is important that the right person is empowered to make our decisions for us. The right person should be the person you choose, and the best way to guarantee that is by creating a power of attorney. From ‘just in case’ to urgent applications for power of attorney, we are able to prepare all the necessary paperwork, giving you peace of mind that your welfare and finances will be in the hands of someone you trust.
Contact our Power of Attorney Solicitors in Lanark, Hamilton & Carluke, Scotland
From our base in Lanark, we assist clients across Scotland with power of attorneys and other private client matters. For more information about how we can help you put a power of attorney in place, please contact our approachable solicitors on 01555 662576 or fill out our online enquiry form.