A Power of Attorney
is a legal authority given by one person to another to deal with their personal affairs. This can include their finances, such as giving access to bank accounts and the power to make decisions regarding their property; and their personal welfare, including medical decisions and arrangements for their personal care. A person can decide whether to grant only welfare or financial powers to their appointed Attorney or they can grant both.
The person who completes the document giving the authority to another to act on their behalf is the Granter, and the person who is then given the authority to act is the Attorney.
In order to grant Power of Attorney, the Granter must have legal capacity at the time of signing the document. This means that they must be able to fully understand what they are doing and have the ability to make a reasoned decision as to whether they wish to do so. If a person does not have capacity to grant Power of Attorney then they are unable to do so. It may be that a guardianship
order will be required in such circumstances.
Powers relating to the Granter's financial affairs are known as "continuing powers." They can take effect immediately, or only come into force when the Granter loses legal capacity. This is when the law says that the Granter is no longer able to fully understand the implications of the decisions they have to take. Welfare powers cannot be exercised until such time as the Granter has lost capacity.
The decision as to which powers to allow the Attorney to have should be freely made by the Granter. It is important that the powers granted should be specific as they will be interpreted strictly. For this reason, it is recommended that legal advice is taken before the document is prepared, to ensure that it is as robust as possible.
Livingstone Brown can provide full advice in respect of Powers of Attorney. We can advise whether this is the appropriate order for your individual circumstances and, if so, can deal with drafting and registering this on your behalf. Simply arrange an appointment to meet with one of our Solicitors to begin the process. To find out more, contact our Private Client department. Call 0141 433 8310 and ask to speak to Samantha Baird, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.