Now is the right time to grant a Power of Attorney
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Appointing an attorney means that if you become unable to make decisions yourself in the future, there’ll be someone there to help. At Anderson Strathern, our expert team can help you to put a power of attorney in place now, giving you peace of mind that your welfare and financial affairs will be taken care of should the need arise.
Powers of attorney are documents that allow others to make legally binding decisions for you if you become unable to do this yourself, such as if you fall ill or suffer an injury. They can only be granted while you have legal capacity, which allows you to choose to whom you want to give these powers.
Should you lose capacity before appointing someone as your attorney, a guardianship application can be made to the court, and the sheriff should appoint an appropriate guardian for you. This means if you don’t formally appoint an attorney while you have capacity, there’s a danger that your appointed guardian may not be the person you would have otherwise chosen.
That’s why it’s important to actively appoint someone you trust to make decisions based on what you would want, rather than what a possible stranger may think is best. There’s a distinction between the two, and considering who you trust to act exclusively with your intentions in mind is crucial rather than relying on who the court decides to appoint.
Because of the seriousness of granting powers to someone else to use when you may not be able to watch over them, making a power of attorney needs a certain formality. There is, for example, a certificate signed by a solicitor or a medical doctor to say that they have discussed the document with you, that you have understood its nature and extent and that they are satisfied that you are not acting under undue influence.
Our power of attorney solicitors in Scotland are on hand to provide ongoing advice in relation to all aspects of powers of attorney and other lifetime planning matters and are here to help you ensure that your best interests will be looked after if you’re no longer able to make decisions yourself.
To discuss the process of setting up a power of attorney with a member of our expert team, please get in touch today.
There are separate types of power of attorneys in Scotland that enable someone to take charge of different elements of your affairs. A continuing power of attorney allows one or more people to look after your property and financial affairs. This may include taking charge of your bank accounts, buying or selling property, or claiming benefits.
An important distinction to be aware of when it comes to a continuing power of attorney is that you can choose whether you would like them to take effect straight away or only after you lose the capacity to make decisions yourself.
Our power of attorney solicitors can help you to review the terms of a continuing power of attorney, including exactly what you would like to be included and when you would like it to take effect.
In contrast to this, a welfare power of attorney enables someone to make decisions about your health and welfare. For instance, it could allow someone to decide what medical treatment you should receive, the type of care you receive, where you will live and what you will eat.
Unlike a continuing power of attorney, a welfare power of attorney can only be acted upon if you lose capacity.
We can help you to decide on exactly what you would like to include in a Welfare power of attorney, ensuring that important decisions surrounding your health are addressed, as well as handling the administrative aspects of filing the document to the Office of the Public Guardian. (This registration is the same for continuing powers as well).
It is also usual to combine a continuing and welfare power of attorney. This is commonly referred to as a combined power of attorney.
As the title suggests, this particular power of attorney allows someone to look after both your financial affairs and health and welfare decisions. As this power of attorney can be so broad in scope and allows for someone to make so many important decisions about your life, it is essential to get expert legal advice when drawing up the terms.
It may also be the case that you want to create a power of attorney that covers a very specific matter or is relevant for a set period of time. In these situations, it may be appropriate to set up a time limited power of attorney.
For example, a time limited power of attorney can be set up if you are spending a significant amount of time abroad and you would like someone else to be able to make certain decisions on your behalf while you are away.
A Time limited power of attorney can only be used while you have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. If you would like the terms of a Time limited power of attorney to continue when you no longer have capacity, it will be necessary to register it with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you have previously granted a power of attorney, you may decide that you would like to amend its terms or cancel altogether. If you still have capacity, this is possible, but there are a number of steps that need to be taken.
Depending on your circumstances and what the power of attorney includes, you may need to provide a Certificate of Capacity and a Revocation Certificate. These documents need to be signed by a solicitor or member of the Faculty of Advocates or a medical doctor.
Our team can carefully guide you through the process of changing or cancelling an existing power of attorney, ensuring that you are fully aware of the potential consequences and your alternative options.
Our power of attorney solicitors in Scotland have a wealth of combined experience and expertise when it comes to powers of attorney and have previously supported clients from all walks of life with such matters.
Our expert team have various professional memberships, demonstrating their expertise, including the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), STEP Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising. We also have substantial expertise in tax matters, with members of our team being Chartered Tax Advisers, Law Society of Scotland accredited specialists in tax law and members of the Law Society of Scotland’s tax committee.
We also have substantial expertise with various lifetime planning matters, including making a Will, executing a Will and succession planning. To find out more about our experience with these matters, please click here.
To discuss the process of making or amending a power of attorney with a member of our expert team, please get in touch today.
If you’d like to hear more about appointing a power of attorney or if you have specific questions, please contact us.
"We have always found members of the Anderson Strathern team most helpful, with sound reliable advice and a good understanding of our circumstances. We built up a relationship over the years, feeling that there is a genuine interest in ourselves and our family and that we are valued as people. All business is conducted professionally but in a genuinely caring manner, and I have every confidence in the team who have dealt with our varying needs over the years."