It’s not only when we get older that it can be convenient or necessary for someone else to look after our affairs for us. It may be that we simply prefer for someone else to look after things for us or something unforeseeable happens, for example an accident or illness, which renders us unable to look after things personally.
A Power of Attorney provides a mechanism by way of simple document where you can appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and/or personal and welfare affairs. Its effect in relation to financial affairs can be either immediate or delayed until incapacity; it can be effective in relation to your personal and welfare affairs only on incapacity. The benefits of having a Power of Attorney are that you are in control of choosing who should look after things for you and exactly what they can (or can’t) deal with. It is not the case that a spouse or civil partner can automatically take over the running of your affairs and deal with your finances or make decisions for you.
Unfortunately it is sometimes the case that by the time consideration is given to making a Power of Attorney it is too late and the intended granter no longer has the capacity to give instructions on the granting of a Power of Attorney. In that situation other solutions can be looked at, such as Intervention Orders or Guardianship Orders, which can be more time consuming to set up, involving the Sheriff Court, and more expensive. Intervention Orders and Guardianship Orders can provide helpful solutions in certain circumstances but usually by having a Power of Attorney in place these legal procedures are unnecessary.
We can advise you on the options you have to tailor your Power of Attorney to your specific needs, for example who and how many Attorneys you should have, what powers it is appropriate to include, and whether it would be better for it to be effective now in relation to your financial affairs – and thus allowing your Attorney to act on your behalf immediately – or whether its effect should be delayed until a future event.