Power of Attorney and Guardianship Solicitors serving Inverness and the Highlands of Scotland
Protecting your family when you need it most
Many people think being next of kin enables them to make decisions for a family member if they’re not able to look after themselves.
This is not the case.
Your spouse, partner, children or other loved ones are powerless to make any decisions on your behalf unless you have appointed them in a Power of Attorney.
If you want the ability to make decisions — for either yourself or a family member — there are three options available:
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Health and Welfare Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney allows you to choose someone that you know and trust to make decisions and to be able to act on your behalf. This is usually in situations where you’re no longer able to do so yourself.
You can appoint the same person to cover both your finances and health and welfare, or you can appoint a different person to cover each part.
Guardianship means taking full responsibility for someone who is unable to look after themselves.
Power of Attorney: Financial Interests in Scotland
If you want someone else to be able to manage your money, property, or other financial interests — for whatever reason — a Financial Power of Attorney is needed. This does not need to be due to incapacity of your own abilities.
A Continuing Power of Attorney allows your Attorney to manage your finances based on a list of powers you have given them. This can involve:
- the day-to-day management of your bank accounts
- dealing with a property you own
- dealing with your business interests
- many other things.
You will be able to specify in detail how your money can be used, and in what circumstances this is to happen.
Power of Attorney: Health and Welfare in Scotland
You may be concerned about whether you’ll be able to make decisions about your own health or care in the future. A Welfare Power of Attorney deals specifically with your healthcare and welfare decisions in case of illness, accident or old age.
Unlike a Financial Power of Attorney, the person you identify to have responsibility for your care will only be given such authority when it becomes clear that you’re no longer able to look after yourself.
Guardianship: long-term care of another person in Scotland
If you become concerned that another family member is unable to look after themselves, applying for Guardianship may be the best option available to you.
If the family member has been declared as lacking mental capacity, setting up a Power of Attorney will not be an option.
Guardianship means you have complete responsibility for this family member. It should never be considered lightly, nor will the Scottish courts grant an application easily.
An application for Guardianship can only be granted if the Scottish courts are confident that someone is unable to look after themselves, e.g. through advanced age, suffering a severe mental condition etc.
If you wish to become a Guardian for another family member, it’s vital you give as much information as possible about what care you’ll provide and how you’ll provide it.
Who Draws Up a Power of Attorney?
Powers of Attorney are usually drawn up by a solicitor and it’s important to take advice on this complex document.
When the document is completed, it must be signed by either a doctor or a solicitor and it must be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian in order to be valid.
Contact our Power of Attorney and Guardianship Solicitors in Inverness, Highlands, Scotland
Whether you’re interested in a Power of Attorney in respect of your own care, or Guardianship for someone else’s, it’s vital you take detailed legal advice on this complex area of the law.
You need to be well informed as to how these legal frameworks run and what your ongoing responsibilities will be.
Innes & Mackay have served our local communities for many years and we’re among the leading firms in Inverness to provide specialist advice on long-term care and support.
We’re regularly sought for our pragmatic, empathic approach and understand the need for legal advice to be delivered by advisors who appreciate the reality facing clients.
We’ll consider your needs carefully and provide a breakdown of the different options relevant to your circumstances.
Areas covered include:
- Wester Ross
- surrounding areas of the Highlands.
If you would like to speak to a lawyer that understands your concerns, contact our team for tailored legal advice to meet your needs, call us on 01463 232273.