The beginning of 2022 brings a new opportunity to reflect on the challenging years we have all faced. The impact of the pandemic will be long remembered and felt going into the future. Considering the future and prioritising what matters to us most is now more important than ever.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a way of giving someone else permission to make decisions about your money and property as well as your health and personal welfare if you become unable to do so yourself. It sets out what you would want to happen in the future if you could no longer look after your own affairs. Having a Power of Attorney in place acts as a means of protecting your own interests during your lifetime.

Why Should I have a Power of Attorney?

1. Deciding Who Will Make Decisions on Your Behalf

A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an attorney or attorneys to act on your behalf if you become mentally incapable to do so. They will be granted the powers to act for you in terms of your welfare and financial matters. You can also grant different attorneys different powers if you wish. Having a Power of Attorney is so important as it provides you with the opportunity to choose who will take on this role.

Careful consideration should be given to who you, as the Granter, wish to appoint as your attorney. This could be a family member, friend, or even your solicitor. Having a person who you can trust is important as they will be dealing with your welfare and financial matters on an on-going basis. Ensuring the right person is given this role, who will continue to protect your best interests, is an important reason why a Power of Attorney is so important.

2. Avoiding an Application for a Guardianship Order

A Power of Attorney becomes active where it is determined that the Granter of the Power of Attorney has become mentally incapable. The appointed attorney then steps into their role and can act within the powers set out in the Power of Attorney document. Where there is no Power of Attorney in place when an individual is determined to have become mentally incapable, complications arise. A family member or spouse will not have legal capacity to make decisions on your behalf in terms of your welfare or finances.

Instead, an application would be made to Court for a Guardianship Order to allow an individual to act on your behalf. This is very time consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining for all parties involved. It may also result in the appointment of someone who does not know your wishes. The Guardianship process is complex and involves input from medical professionals and the local authority as well as the Court. Having a Power of Attorney in place removes this obstacle and provides a more seamless transition.

3. Securing Certainty for Your Future

A Power of Attorney allows you to be pro-active about your future welfare and the future security of your finances. You will be able to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf in one of the most important and vulnerable stages of your life. There is also the possibility of granting multiple attorneys different powers. You will be able to understand and communicate the powers you wish your attorney to have – providing certainty that your intentions have been set out for others to understand and act on. A Power of Attorney removes the possibility that your interests are not protected.

With the challenges of today, it is now more important than ever that we all consider what we would like from our future and considering a Power of Attorney is something we should all be doing regardless of age and stage in life. Whether a Power of Attorney is a new or familiar concept to you, there is no better time than the present to consider your future.

MHD Law’s Private Client team has assisted many individuals and families in setting out a road map of how they wish their future to be dealt with. If you wish to discuss and obtain advice in relation to creating or updating your Power of Attorney, please get in touch with our Private Client team on 0131 555 0616 or