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Why is a Power of Attorney important?

Why is a Power of Attorney important?

In December 2013, Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, in partnership with our firm, launched the 'Start the Conversation' campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Powers of Attorney. You may have noticed television adverts and a social media campaign encouraging all members of the public to discuss Powers of Attorney with their friends and family. So why is a power of attorney important?

The television and online campaign has now re-launched and renamed 'My Power of Attorney'. You may even have seen adverts on the Glasgow Subway! The purpose of the campaign is to urge as many people as possible to plan for the future by ensuring they have Power of Attorney in place.

So What is Power of Attorney?

This is a legal document which gives a trusted friend or family member authority to act and make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.

Anyone over the age of sixteen can grant a Power of Attorney. Powers of Attorney are often associated with elderly people, and loss of capacity is certainly something which affects many of us in old age for a variety of reasons. However an accident or illness could cause you to lose capacity at any time and everyone over the age of sixteen should ensure they have Power of Attorney in place. It may never be required, but can be granted as a 'rainy day' document, to be used only if it is needed.

Why is a Power of Attorney important?

Where someone loses capacity, it often comes as a shock that their immediate family or 'next of kin' have no automatic legal authority to deal with their affairs. This means nobody has the power deal with your money, manage your welfare or make important decisions for you unless you have put a Power of Attorney in place. If you have not granted a Power of Attorney and then lose capacity, a much longer and more expensive process is required which involves making an application to Court.

What should I do?

For more information on Powers of Attorney and the campaign, visit the My Power of Attorney website, where you can download a comprehensive guide to the subject.

If you would like to discuss putting in place a Power of Attorney, please get in touch.

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Written by : Alison Hempsey

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