Power of Attorney Day Mythbuster blog

Alongside Scotland’s 30 other health and social care partnerships, we’re marking Power of Attorney Day (Thursday 30 September) by raising awareness of how anyone can benefit from registering. Below we have rounded up the top 10 facts to know about granting a Power of Attorney, and addressed some common myths and misconceptions.

  1. Power of Attorney isn’t just for older or unwell people. Anyone can be affected at any stage of life to find themselves suddenly incapacitated by an unforeseen illness, accident or other debilitating event
  2. Power of Attorney can be granted to anyone over 16 years that you trust and who is willing to take on this responsibility – eg. a partner, spouse, sibling, child, friend or colleague. The term ‘Attorney’ applies to your named trusted person/s, not to any solicitor or legal representative. You can appoint more than one ‘Attorney’ to act on your behalf
  3. Without a Power of Attorney in place, your family, friends or partner have no legal rights to direct your welfare, or step in to oversee your financial or welfare affairs

Myth 1 – “I don’t need one, I have family that can look after me”

4. There are two types of Power of Attorney – one that grants ‘Welfare powers’ such as issues related to your health, and one for ‘Financial powers’ to manage your money and pay bills. You can choose to grant either power, or both, to your trusted ‘Attorney/s’

4. Though lawyers are often involved, some regional carers’ support groups have volunteers to help prepare your Power of Attorney

6. The Scottish Legal Aid Board can advise whether financial assistance can be made available to people on modest or low incomes who’d prefer to have a solicitor that offers Legal Aid services draw up their Power of Attorney

Myth 2 – “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t have money to protect”

7. Having a will in place does not authorise the executors named in your will to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated for any reason, and unable to make decisions regarding your personal welfare or finances

8. Power of Attorney is a ‘Living Document’ – i.e. it applies during the lifetime of the person authorising its creation. Should that person pass away, all authorisations granted to their Attorney/s come to an end. Power of Attorney does not carry on, after their lifetime, to serve in the place of a will.

9. Solicitors and medical professionals are empowered to sign and legally authorise Power of Attorney documents, and will likely charge a fee for this service

Myth 3 – “I dont need one, I already have a will”

10. All Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Legal Guardian (Scotland), for which a fee of £81 applies, however those on low or modest incomes or receiving certain types of benefit may be exempt from paying this charge.

Join the campaign

Learn more about the campaign and Power of Attorney at www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk, and follow and share on social media (@StartTalkingPoA) on #PoA21 (twitter) and StartTalkingPoA (Facebook)