Skip to Main Content

Latest news and insights

Tornagrain | New Town Development

We act for Tornagrain Limited, part of the Moray Estates group, in connection with the development of the Tornagrain new town.

Viking Energy | Wind Farm Development

We act for Viking Energy Wind Farm LLP in respect of the major wind farm development on mainland Shetland.

Family Matters – Legal Considerations for Parents and Carers

Becoming a parent can also be all consuming, but there are a number of legal matters you should

Why everyone should have a power of attorney

Published: 06 July 2020
Time to read: 3 mins

Talking about what would happen if you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself is not an easy subject to broach with loved ones, but for many the current Covid-19 pandemic may have brought this to the forefront of their minds. In reality none of us know what is around the corner and that it is why it’s best for you and for your family to be prepared for every eventuality.

Many people believe that if they were no longer able to make decisions for themselves, their next of kin would simply step in and make decisions on their behalf. However, this is actually a widely held misconception. As is the idea that only elderly people should have Powers of Attorney. If you become incapable of making your own decisions, even if only for a short period of time, whether it be by accident or illness, no one has the automatic authority to make those decisions for you. People have a variety of relationships nowadays and it’s important that the person you trust can look after matters for you until you recover.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint the people you trust to be ‘your Attorneys’ and gives them the legal authority to make decisions for you, if necessary. This document allows your attorneys to step in and make decisions about both your personal welfare and your property and finances. Of course with great power comes great responsibility and it is critical that you appoint people who you trust to carry out your wishes.

Particularly at this uncertain time, it is important for small business owners and those who are self-employed to consider appointing attorneys who could manage their business affairs, if they are ever unable to do so themselves. This does not have to be the same attorneys you appoint to make decisions surrounding your welfare, as these roles operate separately.

A Power of Attorney can be put in place at any time, as long as you have the capacity to do so. In some unfortunate cases, waiting for the diagnosis of an illness may be too late. If a person loses capacity to make their own decisions and they have not put a Power of Attorney in place, the only alternative is for an interested party (i.e. friend or family member) to apply to court to be appointed as a Guardian.

This can be a stressful, time-consuming and expensive process. It also takes the decision away from the individual, as unlike a Power of Attorney where it is down to them to decide who will act as Attorney, it would be up to the court to decide who should be appointed as Guardian, and it may not be who you would otherwise have chosen.

Our advice is to be proactive, no matter your age, and take the necessary steps to ensure that your best interests are placed in the hands of the people you trust most. For more information on Powers of Attorney, please contact a member of our Private Client Team.

This article featured in the Scotsman on 13 July.

Go Back

Our related services

To find out how we can help you with this topic or others, contact our expert teams or Agnes Mallon directly.

SUBSCRIBE

To receive regular updates like this one, you can sign up to our bulletins, and we will provide updates on the issues that matter to you.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Get in touch

Contact us to find out how we can help you.

Get in touch

Find a lawyer

If you are looking for a specific member of our team, you can search for them by their name here. You can also search for your regular contact by their area of expertise using the buttons below.

Visit the ‘Our People’ page for more ways to search if you can’t find who you’re looking for.