What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written document which authorises another person to deal with your affairs should you become unable to do so.
Why do I need a POA?
If you do not have a POA in place and you become physically or mentally incapable then another person would have to go to court to get the authority to act for you.
Who can I appoint as my Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 16 can act as an Attorney. You can appoint a family member or friend.
If I have a POA, am I signing away my rights to deal with my own affairs?
No, but you are giving them the authority to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Does Legal Aid cover the cost of a POA?
In some circumstances, you might be entitled to Legal Aid depending on your income.
Do I have to have my POA registered?
Yes, the POA needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to be effective.
If I have a Will and an executor, is that sufficient?
A Will only comes in to force when you pass away. It is not sufficient to enable somebody to deal with your affairs while you are alive.
What do I do if I want to change my Attorney?
You can remove an Attorney and substitute another person. Simply get in touch with your solicitor who will write to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Can close family members, friends or next of kin not act on my behalf?
No. Since the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 was introduced, a Power of Attorney is required.
If I have a POA in place, when would my Attorney know when to start relying on it?
In relation to a Welfare Power of Attorney, this can only be used when you have lost capacity. A Financial Power of Attorney can be used upon you providing instructions.
Can I cancel my POA?
Yes, you can cancel it easily.
How much does it all cost?
The usual cost is £250 plus VAT plus £75 registration dues. This can vary depending on the circumstances and you may be entitled to Legal Aid.
What is involved in putting a POA in place?
You will require two meetings with your solicitor who will prepare a draft for you to check over. You then make another appointment to sign the document. Your Attorney needs to sign a consent form and the POA can then be sent to be registered.
If my POA is used fraudulently, what remedies are available to me?
The matter could be referred to the police and the Office of the Public Guardian would become involved.
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