People across Scotland are being urged to arrange Power of Attorney for their loved ones and themselves in order to ensure their wishes can be carried out should old age, dementia, serious illness or accident mean we cannot manage our own affairs.
There may come a point in all our lives when we have to help and support others who have lost capacity. Accidents or illness can happen to us all at any age, which may leave us too in need of support from others. In such circumstances, many people think their next of kin or family member will automatically be able to make decisions for them but this is not the case. Decisions can only be taken on behalf of another person if they have Power of Attorney (POA) in place. Older people sometimes think if they have a will their wishes have been written down but a will is only valid once a person has died. A will cannot be used to ensure the living have their affairs looked after or their wishes known.
POA is a legal document which gives someone else authority to make decisions on your behalf. POA is not just about looking after your financial affairs. It also allows you to choose someone you trust, and who knows your wishes, to be legally entitled to act on your behalf and decide personal welfare issues for you such as where you live or who looks after you. Anyone over the age of 16 can apply and some people may be eligible for a free service.
How to arrange power of attorney
A solicitor can arrange Power of Attorney for you or alternatively, you can arrange it yourself by first contacting the Office of the Public Guardian of Scotland.
For more information visit the My Power of Attorney website.