Losing our mental or physical capacity is something that no one likes to think about. However, accidents can happen, and we do fall victim to serious illness. These events can cause us to lose our ability to care for ourselves or make important decisions. If this does happen, it’s vital to have a plan in place to care for you and manage your finances.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document setting out who wish to appoint to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself. Usually, people choose close family or friends to be their Power of Attorney. It’s important to note that a Power of Attorney is not the same as an “attorney”, which is a term for a lawyer in the United States of America.
There are different types of Power of Attorney.
- A Continuing Power of Attorney can make financial decisions on your behalf and manage your property
- A Welfare Power of Attorney makes decisions relating to your medical care and where you should live
It is common for people to appoint a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney who has the legal power to make decisions across both areas of decision-making. Therefore, choosing the right person to be your Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney is vital.
When do you need a Power of Attorney?
You would need a Power of Attorney if you became incapable of caring for yourself or making decisions. Typical examples of such situations would include being involved in an accident, or if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. These events can cause you to lose physical or mental capacity, and you may require help with paying your bills and looking after your house. You might also need that person to make decisions on your behalf about your medical care and personal welfare.
It’s impossible to foresee when you may need a Power of Attorney. That is why it’s important to appoint one now. Deciding who will manage your affairs when you are incapable of making decisions can end up an expensive and lengthy process for your loved ones if you don’t have an Attorney in place. Your loved ones will have to apply to the Sheriff Court for a Guardianship Order, if you did not appoint an Attorney before becoming incapacitated.
How to get a Power of Attorney?
Firstly, you must decide who you want to appoint as your Attorney. This can be a close friend or relative that you can trust. It is also possible to have more than one Attorney, and you can appoint substitute Attorneys, too. The person(s) you choose to appoint must agree to the role, and be over the age of 16.
Once you have chosen who you want to be your Power of Attorney, you can visit your solicitor. They will advise you on your options and draft a Power of Attorney document for your review. If you agree to the draft, you can sign this in the presence of a witness and a solicitor. After this, the document is registered with The Office of The Public Guardian.
How much does a Power of Attorney cost?
At Watermans, we offer a fixed price for our Power of Attorney services. A single Power of Attorney is £380 (including VAT and Registration Dues). You can also draft a mirrored Power of Attorney with your partner, which is priced at £701 (including VAT and Registration Dues).
From October to December 23rd this year, Watermans have teamed up with Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids charity initiative. We have pledged to donate £50 from every Power of Attorney service we provide in this time to the charity. Cash for Kids aims to help those children affected by poverty, illness or neglect across Edinburgh, The Lothians and Fife. At Watermans, giving back to the local community is something we are passionate about, and we are glad to have this opportunity to play a part in their fundraising efforts.
Having a Power of Attorney in place is a way of planning for your future. The hope is that once you sign your Power of Attorney document, you will never need to use it. However, knowing that it is there in case something was to happen to you can give you and your loved one’s peace of mind.
At Watermans, we take the hassle out of the legal stuff by offering straightforward advice. To speak with our team, book your Power of Attorney appointment or call us on 0131 555 755.