I often get queries about Power of Attorney. Older people may want advice about how they can have someone to act for them if they become ill or go into hospital. Relatives may want to know how they can help senior family members with their affairs. Power of Attorney is a written document that gives someone the right to make decisions on behalf of someone else.
A continuing PoA is about property and financial affairs. Once it is drawn up it can be used right away or when ever you want it start, perhaps if you were going into hospital.
A Welfare PoA is for decisions about health and welfare and can only start if you become incapable of making your own decisions.
You can choose anyone to be your Attorney, as long as they agree, and you can have more than one. You can buy a pack of the forms at big stationery shops and they come with instructions or use a solicitor, which costs £200-£300. If you are on certain benefits you could get financial help so it is worth asking the solicitor.
Once the forms are completed you must be interviewed either by a solicitor or a doctor to make sure you understand what you are doing. Your attorneys must have signed that they are willing to act for you and then the PoA is registered with Office of the Public Guardian which costs £82. This registration takes about nine weeks and the PoA cannot be used until it is registered.
Once the PoA is set up you can leave it until it is needed. You have chosen your own attorneys and made your wishes known. Without it, if you become incapable of making your own decisions the Court of Protection becomes involved.
This is a very brief overview. There is a website; www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk or get more information at the CAB.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is completely confidential.. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is at 7 Atholl Crescent, opposite the North Inch. Drop in is 10am-12 noon, Monday to Friday or phone 01738 450581 for an appointment in the afternoon. If the line is busy you can leave a message and you will get a call-back. The number will come up as Withheld to protect your privacy. 01738 450580 is the Advice Line. This line is often busy but if you leave a message your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Everything is confidential, even the fact that you visited the bureau.
There is also a web-site run by the CAB. Adviceguide.org.uk covers many topics and is easy to use.