Many people believe that a family member or next of kin can simply step in and make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself however, this is a widely held misconception.
The only way in which you can give authority to another person to make decisions on your behalf is in a Power of Attorney. By making a Power of Attorney you are giving your attorneys authority to make decisions about both your personal welfare and your property and finances should you require assistance in the future.
- How do you make a Power of Attorney?
It is possible to make a Power of Attorney yourself and some online services offer Powers of Attorney. However, a Power of Attorney requires a solicitor or a doctor to sign a certificate to confirm you understand the document and, as it is a very powerful document, we strongly recommend you meet with a solicitor to make your Power of Attorney.
- What to ask the solicitor in advance
When you call to arrange an appointment to make a Power of Attorney, here are some things you may want to ask the solicitor:
- What is the cost of the Power of Attorney and does that include the fee to arrange for it to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian?
- What qualifications and experience does the solicitor have? Many of our solicitors are members of STEP; Solicitors for the Elderly and/or a dementia friend. Our very own Donald Winskill is one of the few solicitors in Scotland who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Incapacity and Mental Disability Law;
- Do they offer home visits and/or longer appointments? A home visit may make the person feel more comfortable than attending a strange office, think about whether the person is more able in the morning or afternoon and make the appointment at the best time;
- Will the solicitor send you information in advance? This will allow you to take time to think about things and formulate questions if needs be.
- What to do at the meeting
It is important that you or the person making the Power of Attorney feels comfortable to speak with the solicitor. If needs be ask for a longer meeting than usual.
At the meeting it is good to be open about your or your loved one’s concerns or any conditions which may affect you. Let the solicitor know about any side-effects from medication, or if visual aids or similar might be helpful. Ask for a quiet room and explain how you or your loved one understands questions. In the current times it might be his meeting needs to be held virtually.
Most importantly take all of the time you need and do not feel under any pressure. Making a Power of Attorney is a very important step and we entirely understand it takes time to make the right decisions.
Our Private Client teams in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth are experts in planning for elderly care and understand that it can be a challenging and emotional process. We can provide thoughtful advice and help you navigate the challenges and explore all options, to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
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