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The Importance of having a Power of Attorney

The Importance of having a Power of Attorney

Hearing so many families losing loved ones and the long-term effect Covid-19 has had on their lives is distressing.  However it does highlight the importance of having a Power of Attorney in place.  Too often we hear of spouses with separate bank accounts where one of them becomes ill and the other isn’t able to deal with their accounts, their bills and other important matters at what is already a traumatic time.  So, alongside the worries of their loved one’s health they now have to worry about their finances. This would not be the case if only a Power of Attorney had been granted.

A Power of Attorney is a protective document to be used if/when you are unable to make decisions relating to your property, finances and/or personal welfare.  Unless you grant a Power of Attorney no-one (yes, this includes your spouse/civil partner, children, parents or next of kin) has legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.  If someone needs to step in to act on your behalf and you do not have a Power of Attorney in place, your loved one would require to go through a court process known as guardianship which can take months to complete. 

Granting a Power of Attorney is a fairly straightforward process and can still be done whilst Covid-19 restrictions are in place.  The usual process for making a Power of Attorney is for a solicitor to meet with a client and interview them to ensure that they have the relevant capacity to grant a Power of Attorney. However, during this unprecedented time, the Law Society of Scotland has issued guidance as to the steps which require to be undertaken when meetings are just not possible and here at TC Young, we have adapted our usual ways of working in order to provide practical solutions for clients.

We are able to take your instructions via telephone, email or video call and, thereafter, would provide you. with a draft of your Power of Attorney document. As meetings and home visits are still limited, we can offer a video call in order to interview you so that you can demonstrate that your Power of Attorney has not yet been signed. If we are satisfied that you have the relevant capacity, you would then sign your Power of Attorney during the video call. Thereafter, you would send the signed Power of Attorney to us for a solicitor to complete the certificate attached at the back of the Power of Attorney document and to witness your signature. We are also still able to offer socially distanced meetings and home visits for those who do not have access to suitable technology or who would prefer a face-to-face meeting.

Once signed the Power of Attorney document can be held by your solicitor until it is required (which may of course be never) but you will have the peace of mind that knowing your affairs are in order and your loved ones will not have unnecessary upset at an already stressful time. 

Should you wish to speak to a member of our experienced team about granting a power of attorney, acting as an attorney or making a guardianship application we would be happy to help. 

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Written by : Lynne Lind