Why are individuals in Scotland reluctant to put a Power of Attorney in place? The reality is that many are concerned about losing control over their finances and assets. In fact, most people put a Power of Attorney in place as a rainy day document and their Attorney does not have authority to act straight away. So when is a power of attorney effective in Scotland?
I don't want my Attorney to act immediately - what do I do?
Most people grant a Power of Attorney when they are in good health. All they want is to have a safety net for the future to ensure that their families or friends are able to help if they were unable to manage their own affairs. In these circumstances, the Power of Attorney deed can simply be signed and stored in the safe at a solicitors office until it is needed, which may be never. The Attorney has no authority to act at this point and the person can carry on as normal, safe in the knowledge that there is a contingency plan in place.
When are Attorneys able to act?
An Attorney only has legal authority to act on the person's behalf once the Power of Attorney is registered with The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). In order to register the deed, the Attorney simply has to sign a registration form confirming that they are willing to act. The Power of Attorney deed and registration form are then sent to the OPG, together the registration fee (currently £70).
Once the registration process is complete, the OPG will return the registered Power of Attorney with a certificate confirming the Attorney's authority to act on the granter's behalf. This registered version of the Power of Attorney deed can be shown to banks, building societies etc. to allow the Attorney to act.
Can I find out if a Power of Attorney has been registered?
The OPG keeps a record of all registered Power of Attorney deeds. The register is public and it is easy to find out whether a Power of Attorney has been registered. A written request for a search should be submitted to the OPG.
If you would like further information on granting a Power of Attorney, registering a Power of Attorney or searching the OPG's register, please contact our team.