What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of Attorney is the legal authority one person gives to another to deal with their personal affairs and welfare. This can include their finances, their home and property as well as care and medical decisions. Without a Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones would have to apply for a guardianship in order to take care of your affairs. This can be a lengthy and costly process, which can be prevented. By putting a Power of Attorney in place in advance of a situation where you are unable to make decisions for yourself, you can be assured your affairs and welfare will be looked after by someone you trust. If you are thinking of setting up a Power of Attorney, or would like to apply for a guardianship order for someone, speak to our solicitors who can guide you smoothly through the entire process.
Continuing Power of Attorney Scotland
Powers relating to a person's financial affairs are known in Scots law as "continuing powers". Continuing Powers of Attorney or Financial Powers of Attorney can take effect immediately, or begin when the Granter loses legal capacity and will allow your Attorney to deal with your financial affairs, for example paying bills or selling your house.
Welfare Power of Attorney Scotland
Welfare Powers of Attorney are designed so that the Attorney can make welfare and treatment decisions on your behalf. This can include nursing home care or consent to medical treatment. These powers can only come into effect where you are incapable of making decisions yourself. You can, if you wish, combine both Financial and Welfare Powers of Attorney. However, the welfare powers will not commence until the Grantor is unable to make decisions for themselves.
The decision as to the scope of power to allow the Attorney should be freely made by the person granting the Power of Attorney. It is highly recommended to take legal advice before such a document is prepared, to avoid any potential difficulties about the exact wishes of the person granting the Power of Attorney.
Who can be an Attorney?
You can decide whether the attorney should be one person, or more than one. You can also appoint different Attorneys to deal with financial matters and personal welfare. Whatever the decision, an Attorney should be a trusted person, such as a member of your family, or a close friend. It is also quite common for an Attorney to be a solicitor or accountant.
How is a Power of Attorney Created?
In order to create a Power of Attorney, three documents are required. The first sets out the precise powers that the person granting powers (the Grantor) wishes the Attorney to have, and must state clearly that the powers are continuing, welfare or a combination of both. The Grantor must sign this document in order for it to be valid, and it should not be prepared by the Attorney and then simply presented to the Grantor to sign. A certificate of capacity must also be signed by a solicitor or GP, confirming the Grantor understood the document, and was not under duress or unduly influenced by any third party. The document must also be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. A certificate of registration prevents any disputes regarding the document's legal validity or authenticity. Depending on how the grantor wishes to proceed, the Certificate of registration, once received, can be used by the Attorney immediately, regarding financial decisions in the case of a Continuing Power of Attorney. Alternatively, your solicitor can keep these documents safe until the Granter loses capacity or wishes the Attorney to act on his or her behalf to deal with their financial affairs.
Can I Change my Mind About a Power of Attorney?
It is possible to revoke a Continuing or Welfare Power of Attorney and indeed any of the powers stated in it once it has been registered with the Public Guardian. However, you must give notice of the revocation in writing, and follow the formal process as guided by your solicitor. Contact us straight away if you wish to reverse or revoke any part of an existing Power of Attorney document.
Contact our Power of Attorney Solicitors in Dumbarton Today
We have the experience and expertise to deal with your all Power of Attorney needs expediently and effectively, and we pride ourselves on explaining the process fully, and communicating regularly with our clients. We serve clients in Dumbarton, Helensburgh, Clydebank, Balloch, Alexandria and across Scotland, and would be happy to discuss your needs with you. To speak to one of our Power of Attorney experts, get in touch today via our online contact form or give us a call on 01389 767 625.