Many people believe that they would be able to act and make decisions for a loved one if they are no longer able to do so themselves. Sadly this is often not the case, as without a formal Power of Attorney already in place it can be difficult to get access to a loved one’s bank accounts, even to make payments on their behalf (e.g. paying for their care). Even if a house or shares are in joint names, without both owners signatures, the asset can’t be sold, often leaving families in a difficult position. Moreover, if there is no Welfare Power of Attorney in place the final decisions with regards to someone’s care would lie with the social work services of the local authority…not the choice most of us would make for ourselves.
WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
There are basically two types of Power of Attorney. This first is a Continuing Power of Attorney which covers your financial and property affairs. The powers could be used while you have capacity for example if you were abroad or housebound and it could continue to be used if you lost capacity due to accident or illness. Continuing Powers of Attorney effectively allow someone to step into your shoes and deal with your property and finances as you would wish. This could include dealing with bank accounts, investments, insurances, pensions, tax returns, gifting, property and many other matters.
A Welfare Power of Attorney allows somebody to make decisions about your wellbeing, for example, what medical treatment you should receive and/or where you should live. This appointment only becomes effective if you can’t make these decisions for yourself.
The important thing about a Power of Attorney is that it must be put in place while the person has capacity. If it is too late and the person does not understand what they are doing a Guardianship or Intervention Order may be required.
You can think of a Power of Attorney like taking out home or car insurance…you hope you will never have the need for it, but the peace of mind, security and convenience having one in place offers should you ever, is priceless for all concerned.
WHAT WE DO...
We understand that dealing with a solicitor may be a daunting prospect and we will sit down in a friendly, approachable manner with you and/or your family members to discuss a Power of Attorney. We will ensure that you understand the different types available and will help you choose the best suited attorneys. If there is nobody that you trust to take over finances Gillespie Macandrew could act on your behalf on a professional basis.
We appreciate that capacity is not a black and white area…for example, some people may be better in the morning and others may rally after a good meal! We will work with you and your family to try to ensure that we have these discussions at a time and place convenient to you and often visit clients at home where they are more comfortable.
WHAT TO EXPECT...
We will arrange to meet with you in the comfort of your own home or at our centrally located offices and talk you through the process.
We are friendly and approachable and will try to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you and your family.
WORKING WITH THE ECF...
Working with other professionals within the Edinburgh Care Forum allows us to help clients set up all important Powers of Attorneys, and help those who may have been named Attorneys themselves by directing them to advice regarding the person’s care, finances and property from other experts with a similar dedication and passion as us.