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Power of Attorney

We all want what's best for our families, and often this means planning ahead. If you, or a loved one, become incapable of taking charge of your own affairs, this can be stressful for the family. Significant time and money often needs to be spent going to court to obtain permission to deal with seemingly straightforward matters, such as paying bills.

Power of Attorney in Scotland

The above situation can be avoided by granting a power of attorney. At NGL, our specialist family lawyers can arrange for a power of attorney to be granted in favour of a trusted loved one or a professional. This power allows the person to whom it is granted manage the affairs of the person who is no longer capable of doing so. The person who takes over the running of another's affairs must do so in the 'best interests' of that person.

To be valid, powers of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It is also necessary to keep a power of attorney updated. The office must be notified of changes of address, deaths or anything which may bring about the end of the power of attorney.

A person may no longer be able to manage their own affairs by reason of: mental disability; physical disability; a temporary mental disorder; their age (i.e. they are too young) or they lose the ability to communicate (having suffered a stroke for instance).

Obviously, the above situations can be very different – some are temporary – and each will require the granting of different powers. There are three main types of power of attorney in Scots law:

• Simple Power of attorney.

Simple power of attorney is the most basic type of power of attorney and is used for routine management of another's affairs such as basic financial transactions. This can be a short term solution and is used, for instance, when an individual is temporarily incapacitated.

• Continuing power of attorney.

Continuing power of attorney is more complex and allows the person to whom it is granted manage another's financial affairs (as opposed to a welfare power of attorney which allows the management of decisions relating to care). This power must be conferred in a certain way to be legally valid. It must be expressed in a written document and be signed by the granter and clearly state the granters intention. It is essential that a solicitor is involved – a solicitor must certify the document and interview the granter to determine if the power is an accurate expression of their will.

• Welfare power of attorney.

This type of power of attorney only becomes exercisable once the granter becomes incapable or the person to whom the power is granted reasonably believes this to be the case. A welfare power of attorney is a wide-ranging power and allows the Attorney to deal with matters relating to care, welfare, medical treatment, accommodation arrangements and social & cultural activities.

Contact our Power of Attorney Experts in Hamilton, Scotland

To speak to one of our power of attorney lawyers, please telephone 01698 207050 or complete our online enquiry form.