Personal Law

‘Tis the season, again.

Over the past few years, John Lewis has made quite a name for themselves in providing Christmas tearjerkers as the cornerstone of their annual advertising campaign. Who can forget Monty the Penguin or The Bear & The Hare? 2015’s Man on the Moon, part of the retailer’s £7m campaign, sees a girl attempt to bring cheer to an old man stranded on the moon. As part of the campaign, John Lewis has teamed with Age UK to raise awareness around loneliness; proceeds from the sale of several products will be donated to the charity.

The absolute genius surrounding the advert (and, to a lesser extent, Aldi’s hilarious take off of it), is the tie up with the charity to ensure that all of the emotional string-pulling is not simply for commercial and marketing gain; rather there is a real, raw and meaningful issue behind it.

Age UK’s most recent statistics show that it is estimated that, in the UK alone, 850,000 people suffer from dementia. That is not to say that dementia is the sole cause of loneliness felt by the elderly at Christmas (or, indeed any other time of year), but, by their own reckoning, Age UK believe that the onset of dementia leads to feelings of loneliness, depression and lack of self-confidence.

As our population continues to age it even more important that we raise awareness and ask our friends and family if they have considered planning for their future. With an aging population, powers of attorney are going to become the norm. Those in the care and financial sectors will be asking to see this document before action can be taken by those who require assistance. Despite this fact, according to The Office of the Public Guardian’s recent statistics, only 2% of the adult Scottish population have a registered power of attorney.

A power of attorney affords you protection in circumstances where you lack the capacity to make decisions regarding your finances and property, and/or your health and welfare.

If you lose capacity and do not have a power of attorney in place, no-one has legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This could be problematic in terms of accessing your money to pay bills or care costs, claiming or receiving your pension, or making decisions regarding your welfare, for example, your living arrangements.

By granting a power of attorney, you are putting in place measures to ensure that, should you lose capacity, those you trust most will have sufficient authority to make the right decisions on your behalf.

If you do not have a power of attorney in place already, we recommend that you consider granting one, simply as a precaution for the future. A power of attorney might never be required, but should you lose capacity, it will be far cheaper and less stressful to you and your family if you have one in place.

Should you wish to discuss this matter in more detail, please contact Euan Fleming on 0131 656 0039 or at, or your usual contact in Brodies’ Private Client department.

Personal Law