Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney in Scotland is a document in which you appoint another person or persons to act, or make decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot do so yourself. Under Scots Law, a Power of Attorney allows the Attorney (the person you have appointed) to look after your affairs in the way that you would have done had you been able.
Different Types of Powers of Attorney
Financial Powers of Attorney or Continuing Powers of Attorney allow your Attorney to deal with your financial and business affairs, for example paying bills or dealing with the selling of your house.
Under Scots Law, Welfare Powers of Attorney allow your Attorney to make welfare and healthcare decisions on your behalf , for example, arranging nursing home care or consenting to medical treatment. These powers can only come into effect if you are incapable of making these decisions yourself.
Combined Powers of Attorney include both Financial and Welfare Powers.
Who should I appoint as my Attorney?
Most importantly you should appoint someone you trust and someone who you think will be aware of your wishes and how you would like matters to be carried out on your behalf. Most people appoint family members, but it is also possible to appoint a professional person such as a Solicitor.
Why should I have a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney ensures that even if you can no longer make decisions for yourself there is a trusted person able to make these decisions on your behalf.
There may be cost benefits available as well.
The cost of a Power of Attorney is only a few hundred pounds. If however you did not have a Power of Attorney in place and you came mentally incapacitated, it would no longer be possible to grant a Power of Attorney and the Court would need to appoint a Guardian to look after your affairs.
This is a considerably more costly complicated and lengthy process than granting a Power of Attorney.
Granting a Power of Attorney could be compared to taking out an Insurance Policy, so that you can be sure that your affairs will be looked after by a trusted person in the event that you cannot do so yourself.
For more information and to discuss preparation of a Power of Attorney in Scotland please contact our head of Private Client Joyce Marshall.