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Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document  - a deed of authority  granted by an individual   to someone you trust eg a family member or friend,  who can deal on your behalf with aspects of your health and wellbeing, financial and property matters and/or personal welfare.  It’s a bit like having  something of a personal  legal ‘safety net’   to help you if you are not able to look after your own affairs.

None of us know what  the future brings.  No one can  predict  if  you  will ever develop dementia  later in life or even in middle age. In the same way, no one knows  if any of us will  be in an Accident , or suffer a serious illness like a stroke or multiple sclerosis, which could  leave us unfit mentally or physically to look after our own affairs. No one  has the automatic authority to make decisions about your  and your life if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself, unless  a Power of Attorney has been set up in advance.

In order to protect against these kind of risks, a power of attorney can be  prepared by a lawyer and signed by an individual, and left safe in case it is ever needed, which could be  years later. In the absence of a power of attorney, the family  of a sick or injured relative has to go to court to get a guardianship order, which can be quite a prolonged process and cause a lot of stress,  to all of those involved and  cost a lot of money  too!

If you are thinking of having a power of attorney put in place, or just want to know more about the process of doing so it is a good idea to arrange to  speak to  or see a lawyer. Many law firms offer free initial consultations, when you can talk through all the issues and concerns that you have in confidence.

More information can be obtained from  the links below:

MyPowerofAttorney.org.uk

http://www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland/relationships_s/relationships_help_for_adults_in_the_community_s/managing_affairs_for_someone_else-2.htm

Age UK:

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/money-matters/power-of-attorney/

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