The Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf, and this can continue even if you lose capacity.

When putting a power of attorney in place, what do you need to consider?

Who should be my attorney?

It is very important that you choose an appropriate person to be your attorney. They should be someone that you trust and feel that you can rely on to look after your affairs. We recommend that you appoint more than one attorney in the event that your principal attorney is unable to act on your behalf for some reason (for example, they become ill). It is also a good idea to take into account practical issues when considering who is best for the attorney role. For example, if your attorney lives abroad, they may not be able to act particularly quickly in relation to your affairs in Scotland.

What powers should my attorney have?

Powers within a power of attorney document are interpreted restrictively and so it is a good idea to grant your attorney a wide selection of powers. Powers can include the ability to look after your financial affairs (such as accessing your bank accounts and paying your bills) and your personal welfare (such as what kind of hospital treatment you receive or where you should live). Powers in relation to your financial affairs can be exercised as soon as the power of attorney has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian whereas welfare powers only come into force when you lose capacity.

When should I put a power of attorney in place?

There is a misconception that powers of attorney are only for elderly people. However, we recommend that people of all ages, regardless of your circumstances, should put a power of attorney in place. It is essential that you have capacity when you sign your power of attorney, so it is always a good idea to get one in place sooner rather than later.