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What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (PoA) is a written document giving someone else authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf. This could be to deal with your financial affairs and / or welfare matters. It could be used in the future if you become incapable.
The PoA details the names of the people, known as attorneys, who you want to help you, and lists the individual powers that you want them to have. An attorney could be a family member, friend, solicitor, accountant or a combination. You can appoint someone to deal with your financial matters and someone different for your personal welfare.
At the time of completing a PoA you must have the capacity to understand the process.
If in the future your capacity becomes impaired either gradually or suddenly as a result of an accident or illness the PoA can be ‘activated’.
If you want your attorney(s) to they can help you with your finances as soon as the PoA is registered but they CANNOT make decisions about your welfare until you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.
If you didn’t have a PoA and you became incapable of making decisions about your affairs, your family or friends may have to go to court to get the authority to act on your behalf.
How or where would I get one?
Once you have the power of attorney forms, a certificate needs to be completed confirming that you are capable of understanding the PoA. This can be signed either by a solicitor or a medical doctor. The signing of the PoA forms and the certificate need to be undertaken at the same time.
Once completed the forms (PoA, certificate and attorney confirmation) need to be sent to the Office of Public Guardianship (Scotland) for the PoA to be registered.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary. Some online forms are free, others have a small fee, solicitors charge variable rates. Kingussie and Laggan Medical Practices have agreed their GPs will not charge for completing the certificate, but if a medical examination is required standard medical fees will apply There is a fee to register PoA with the Office of Public Guardianship (approx £82 per form).
Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), Hadrian House, Callendar Business Park, Callendar Road, Falkirk, FK1 1XR email: email@example.com Telephone: 01324 678300