What is a Power of Attorney?
It’s a legal document you sign now, appointing someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself at some point in the future.
Why should I make a Power of Attorney?
While a Will ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes on your death, a Power of Attorney protects your assets while you’re alive.
A Power of Attorney is just as important as a Will – everyone should have one.
Can’t my next-of-kin look after my affairs if something happens?
No. The law does not allow a relative or loved one to just “step in”. Without a Power of Attorney they face an expensive and lengthy court process just to be allowed to deal with your affairs.
Is there a limit to how many people I have as my attorney?
No, you can have as many people as your attorney as you want, but they must be 16 years-old or older and you must state if they are to act together or on their own when making decisions on your behalf.
How do I know what POA document I need?
You will need to decide if you want to give your attorney(s) power over your finances (known as a Continuing Power of Attorney) or your health and wellbeing (known as a Welfare Power of Attorney). Our Solicitors will listen to your requirements and talk things through with you and your family to ensure you fully understand your options.
Will the POA start as soon as it’s registered?
If worded correctly, you can give your attorney(s) authority to deal with your finances as soon as your document is registered, or you can freeze these powers until you lose the mental ability to make your own decisions. Welfare powers can only be used once you can no longer make decisions about your welfare for yourself.
Can someone named in my POA be a witness?
No, your Power of Attorney needs to be witnessed by someone who’s not an attorney and then certified by a doctor or a lawyer in Scotland. All of these signatures must be made at the same time, so you will need to make an appointment with your solicitor (or GP) to have the document properly signed.
My POA has been signed and witnessed and the certificate has been signed by a Solicitor or Doctor, is there anything else required?
Yes. Your Power of Attorney won’t be valid unless it is registered by the Office of the Public Guardian in Falkirk.
What happens once my POA has been registered?
Once your Power of Attorney has been registered, you should give a copy to your attorney and the original should be kept in a safe and secure place. We usually hold the original Power of Attorney document for our clients in our office safe, alongside e.g. their Will and Title Deeds. There is no cost for this service.
Can I amend my POA?
Yes. For as long as you are able to make decisions, you can amend your POA at any time.
Can I cancel my Power of Attorney at any time?
Yes. You can cancel your POA at any time, so long as you have not lost mental capacity.
How much does it cost?
For a POA with financial and welfare powers it is £300 for a single person or £450 for a couple. Our fees are subject to VAT. Registering the POA with the OPG will cost £75 per person.
We have the experience and expertise you need to ensure your Power of Attorney follows your wishes to the letter. Once you give us your instructions, we provide you with samples of how your Power of Attorney will look. As soon as you’re happy with the wording, we can arrange for signing/certifying at one of our offices in Edinburgh, Dundee, Galashiels, Glasgow or Peebles. We’ll also take care of registration for you.