When it comes to planning for the future, many people only focus on making a will. There’s no doubt why less than 1.5% of the Scots – only around 80,000 of the Scottish population – have registered a Power of Attorney each year between 2018 and 2021.

While a will is indeed important for determining how your assets will be divided after your passing, you can’t overlook the importance of a Power of Attorney. In this article, we will explore the importance of making a POA and why it should be a priority for you, no matter your age.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you choose another person to act on your behalf and manage your affairs when you’re unable to do so. The document features statements called ‘powers’ that allow the chosen person to make specific decisions on your behalf.

If you’re the person who is giving the permission, then you’re the ‘Granter’, and whoever agrees to act on your behalf is the ‘Attorney’.

The attorney can be anyone – a spouse, children, live-in partner, family member, or friend – who you trust to act on your behalf. This could be restricted to certain aspects of your affairs, such as financial or property matters, health or personal welfare matters, or a combination of some or all of these matters.

Types of Power of Attorney in Scotland

There are three different types of Power of Attorney in Scotland. If you’re unable to decide which one is right for you, our expert team can assist you with that.

1. Continuing Power of Attorney (CPA)

It gives your attorney the power to deal with financial and/or property matters. They can use it as soon as the POA document has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

If the powers under the POA are only to be used in the event of your incapacity, then the document must specifically mention that they can’t be used until that time. You can add a statement regarding who should decide about your incapacity.

2. Welfare Power of Attorney (WPA)

It gives your attorney the power to decide on your health or personal welfare matters. This power only applies after the POA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), and you can no longer decide on the matters the powers apply.

3. Combined Power of Attorney

It gives your attorney both continuing and welfare powers. Most POAs filed with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) are a combination of continuing and welfare powers. However, you’re free to decide what type of POA you wish to grant.

How much does a Power of Attorney cost?

There are two types of costs involved in making a Power of Attorney.

The Office of the Public Guardian charges £87 to register each Power of Attorney document. This fee covers both types of Power of Attorney, so if you have both a Continuing (Finance) and a Welfare Power of Attorney, the total application fee will be £87.

In addition, there are legal costs if you decide to use a solicitor to help you. Fees can vary a great deal between lawyers, with some charging up to £1,000 + VAT.

Our fees are far more competitive, at ILawsScotland, we charge an all-inclusive fee of £321 per person for a Power of Attorney with both continuing and welfare powers. This includes VAT and a £87 registration fee.

Importance of Making a Power of Attorney

You might think that you don’t need to worry about a POA since you have a partner, parent, sibling or child who will take care of it for you, but legally, that isn’t how it works. Here are the top five reasons why having a POA is extremely important:

1. Control Over Decisions

With a Power of Attorney in place, you have control over your decisions. That’s because you choose a reliable and trustworthy person to act on your behalf. This person (attorney) is well aware of your wishes and desires and is able to act on them.

They can handle a lot of things for you, such as manage your finances, taking care of your property, and making decisions about your health care. A POA ensures that your preferences are honoured even in the event when you are unable to speak for yourself.

2. Avoid Legal Complications

Without a Power of Attorney, things can get difficult. When you become incapable of making decisions, the court might appoint someone you don’t want or don’t know well. It’s possible that this person might not understand or respect your wishes.

The process itself can be quite expensive and time-consuming. This can cause stress for your family. They might have to do a lot of paperwork and attend hearings. That’s why it’s better to pick someone yourself. It keeps things clear and easy. It also helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes in your family.

3. Protection Against Exploitation

Have you ever been concerned that someone might exploit you? Yes, exploitation happens when you don’t have a Power of Attorney in place. Without one, some other person could make decisions for you that may not be in your best interests. Sometimes, they might try to trick you into doing things you don’t want to do.

But with a POA, you get to choose someone whom you can trust so that no one exploits you when you’re at a vulnerable phase. Your attorney will act on your behalf, protecting you from potential exploitation and making sure your wishes are acknowledged.

4. Personalisation and Control

A POA is a flexible document. You may modify it depending on your needs and preferences. This means you have complete control over the power you grant to your attorney. It’s not necessary to give them control over everything. It’s up to you to decide what they can and cannot do.

You might want your attorney to manage your finances but not health matters. Or maybe you want them to look after your business but stay away from property matters. You can also choose multiple attorneys. They might share the responsibilities or manage totally different aspects. You can also set limits to how long your POA will last. It may be for a specific period, or it can last until you decide to revoke it.

5. Peace of Mind

You have peace of mind when you know that someone you trust is in charge of your decisions when you can’t make them. You don’t need to be concerned about what might happen to your money or health. That’s because if something happens, you know your attorney will step in. They will take care of your assets, finances, and well-being as you wish.

In short, a Power of Attorney offers security. It eases your and your loved ones’ lives. By planning ahead, you can relax, knowing that your affairs will be in safe hands and everything will be taken care of. This peace of mind is priceless.

On a Final Note

Having a Power of Attorney in place is extremely important to secure your future. It gives you peace of mind that your affairs will be managed as per your wishes when you’re unable to do so. This can be due to illness, injury, age, or other reasons.

If you have any doubts or need help making a Power of Attorney, you can hire ILawsScotland. For over 30 years, we have been helping people to set up a Power of Attorney. Our professional team will help you draft the documents required to create the POA. They will take care of all the things till the process is complete. Get in touch with us to discuss your POA requirements now.

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