Power of Attorney and Guardianships

A Power of Attorney or a Guardianship is where arrangements are put in place to have someone act on your behalf while you’re still alive but are not able to make decisions for yourself. Which one will depend on your circumstances – a Power of Attorney is someone you appoint yourself, you decide.  A Guardian would be appointed by the courts, they decide.

Power of Attorney or Executor – What’s the Difference?

A Power of Attorney protects your wishes and you in life; a Will, and your Executor, deal with your wishes only once you have passed away. The difference between a Power of Attorney and an Executor is quite literally, the difference between life and death! Both are positions of utmost trust for you to give to someone you can rely on to carry out your wishes.

No one has an automatic right to take actions on your behalf without legal authority. A Power of Attorney is a written, signed and witnessed legal document which gives someone else – your Attorney(s) – authority to make decisions or take actions on your behalf when you are unable to do so for yourself.

Your Attorney(s) can make financial decisions for you as soon as you wish if that is your preference. Welfare and care decisions cannot be made by your Attorney(s) until you are unable to decide for yourself. This is a simple and cost-effective way to protect yourself. If your circumstances change, as is often the way of life and it’s many developments. You can revoke or amend your Power of Attorney provided you remain capable of making these decisions.  Once you lose capacity, your Power of Attorney document cannot be changed unless it is revoked by a subsequent Guardianship Order.

  • You choose who will be able to do these things for you.
  • You choose what they can do for you.
  • You choose when they do these things for you.

Guardianship

It’s important to remember that you can only choose to appoint a Power of Attorney while you are able to do so. If you lose the capacity to make that decision, become suddenly ill or have an accident then the State will be required to make these decisions for you. They will put a Guardianship in place and you or your family will have little control over decisions which may affect your home, your welfare and care and your finances. Your family will need to go to Court to ask to be granted legal authority to make decisions for you. The costs of applying for a Guardianship are much greater and take much longer than a Power of Attorney.

The preferred course of action for complete peace of mind is therefore to grant Power of Attorney to an individual that you trust. To book an appointment to discuss appointing an Attorney to look after your affairs should the need arise, call our Hamilton office on 01698 459200, or our Lanark office on 01555 709918.

Linda George Family Law. We’re here when you need us.

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