Power of Attorney – Prepare for 2023 and put a Power of Attorney in place

Power of Attorney – Prepare for 2023 and put a Power of Attorney in place

Do you have a power of attorney in place? 

When someone is ill or recovering from an illness they often feel at their most vulnerable. At the same time, they and their family may start to think about the future and what arrangements they have in place such as Wills and Powers of Attorney. At Caritas we strongly believe that it should not take a crisis situation to make us plan ahead. Wills and Powers of Attorney are not about age or being ill. They are the most important documents you can obtain and a Power of Attorney is something which everyone should have from the age of 16 upwards. Your next of kin are powerless without power of attorney – this means they cannot take any decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

What is a power of attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives another person the legal authority to make decisions and act on your behalf. It can say whether the Attorney can act immediately or only when you become incapacitated. There are three different types of Power of Attorney:-

1. A Continuing Attorney – this covers property and finances, for example using a Bank Account, selling a house or dealing with an inheritance.

2. A Welfare Attorney – this covers personal welfare matters such as consenting to medical treatment or choosing where you live.

3. A Continuing and Welfare Attorney – this covers both property and finances as well as welfare.

When are Powers of Attorney helpful or necessary?

Instructing a Power of Attorney allows you to prepare for a time in the future if and when you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Many people find it useful following illness, as they want to exercise control over who will make decisions for them in the future and find making a Power of Attorney cathartic.

Powers of Attorney are also useful where perhaps someone has had a stroke and their capacity can come and go – they may understand everything going on around them but find communication difficult. An Attorney can step in and act where necessary and equally step back as a person regains fuller capacity.

What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?

If you become incapacitated (perhaps through a progressive illness or an accident) and do not have a Power of Attorney a person with an interest in your affairs may apply to the Sheriff Court to act on your behalf. This person is called a Guardian. This process (known as Guardianship) takes time, can be expensive (although legal aid is available in most cases) and ultimately you rely on the Court to appoint the most appropriate person to act on your behalf. At a time of crisis many families have been helped greatly by having a Power of Attorney in place, rather than having to resort to Guardianship.

How can Caritas Legal help you?

Caritas Legal is a modern, accessible plain speaking law firm. We act for clients throughout Scotland. We specialise in protecting vulnerable groups by helping with Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Guardianships and Living Wills. We have in-depth knowledge of the law and experience in the drafting and managing of Powers of Attorney. We can visit you at home or in hospital and prepare the documentation quickly after our meeting. After the document is signed, we will register it with the Office of the Public Guardian.

For further information or to arrange an initial consultation please call us on 01383 431101, email info@caritaslegal.co.uk or complete the contact us form on this page.

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