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What is a Power of Attorney?

A legal document that lets you (the ‘Granter’) appoint someone known as ‘Attorney(s)’ to make decisions on your behalf.

It can be used if you become unable to make your own decisions. There are 2 types of powers:

  • Health and welfare
  • Property and financial

Types of Powers:

Health and welfare Power of Attorney

This allows you to choose someone to make decisions about:

  • Your daily routine
  • Medical care
  • Where you should live
  • Medical treatment

This type of power can only be used by your Attorney when you are unable to make your own decisions.

Property and financial affairs

This allows you to choose someone to make decisions about:

  • Paying bills
  • Collecting benefits
  • Selling property
  • Making investments

This type of power can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission.

We can advise you on the types of powers you should consider to best suit your needs.

Who can grant powers to an Attorney?

Any adult over the age of 18 years who has mental capacity (the ability to make decisions).

Who should I choose at Attorney?

You can choose one or more persons to appoint as Attorney(s) When choosing an Attorney you should consider:

  • How well the person looks after their own affairs, eg their finances
  • How well you know them
  • If you trust them to make decisions in your best interests
  • How happy they will be to make decisions for you

Your Attorney can be anyone 18 or over and can be:

  • a relative
  • a friend
  • a professional (ie a Solicitor)

You cannot choose someone who is unable to make their own decisions or someone who is bankrupt (for property and financial powers)

The best person to choose is someone you trust and who knows you well.

Does this mean that after registration I can no longer make decisions about my finances?

No. You remain able to manage your finances. Your Attorney can only act in your interests.

Is there a specific format for Power of Attorney?

There is no single format. The document must contain certain details, eg how you would wish your incapacity to be determined which, if not included, will lead to the document being returned by the Public Guardian Office.

You can visit for examples of Power of Attorney documents. The documents are illustrative only and the Public Guardian Office recommend that you consult a solicitor if you wish to set up a Power of Attorney.

Certificate of capacity

The document must include a statutory certificate signed by a solicitor registered to practice in Scotland, a practising member of the Scottish Faculty of Advocates or a registered and licensed medical practitioner which confirms:

  • they have interviewed the Granter immediately before signature
  • they are satisfied either through their own knowledge or by consulting another person that the Granter fully understands what he/she is doing and the nature and extent of the powers he/she is giving
  • they have no reason to believe that the Granter is acting under any undue influence

Registering the Power of Attorney

The document together with registration form and certificate requires to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian who maintain a public register. The Public Guardian has a statutory obligation to notify the appropriate local authority and Mental Welfare Commission of any welfare powers of attorney which have been registered. There is a fee for registration (currently £70). Only when registered does the document have legal effect.

Can the Power of Attorney be revoked?

The Granter can revoke the Power of Attorney or any of the powers granted in it once it has been registered. The granter must give notice of the revocation in writing. Once again a Certificate requires to be completed by a person prescribed above.

For more information or to discuss any services, please contact us by telephone on 0141 337 6678 or 07988 905 198 or by complete our enquiry form and we will contact you to discuss.