The Team

When is the right time to draw up a Power of Attorney?
15/07/2022
When is the right time to draw up a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is something old people draw up, right? No, wrong! Yes, many elderly people grant a Power of Attorney but age is not really a major factor when considering when it is the right time to draw up a Power of Attorney.

We need to reflect on the reason you should grant a Power of Attorney. Its purpose is to have someone you know and trust in place to make the kind of decision you would make if you were unable to make those decisions yourself. Life is uncertain and none of us know what is just round the corner. Some of us might become incapacitated because of illness or injury long before we reach old age so putting off drawing up a Power of Attorney until we are older is not a sensible approach to take.
 

Powers of Attorney before the year 2000

Powers of Attorney were not always associated with age or incapacity. Prior to the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, those who granted a Power of Attorney did so as a matter of convenience. For instance, if someone worked or lived abroad or travelled extensively, it was not unusual for them to grant a Power of Attorney. They would do this so that someone could manage their affairs they were away from Scotland. Perhaps someone emigrating to Australia might have granted a Power of Attorney to a relative or their solicitor to deal with the sale of their house in Scotland after they had emigrated. This was purely a matter of convenience and age or injury had absolutely nothing to do with it.
 

However, if the granter of the Power of Attorney because incapacitated due to illness or injury, the Power of Attorney came to an end, perhaps when it was needed most.
 

The Adults with Incapacity Act (Scotland) 2000

This act introduced two new types of Power of Attorney – the Continuing Power of Attorney and the Welfare Power of Attorney. The former is designed to deal with financial affairs whilst the latter deals with welfare affairs. The important feature of these new types of Power of Attorney is that they continue to be valid even through the granter may have become incapacitated.
 

It is not unusual for these Power to Attorney to be combined into a single Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney thus providing the attorney with the capability of dealing with the granter’s financial as well as welfare needs.
 

A Power of Attorney as an insurance policy

Just because you grant a Power of Attorney does not mean you cannot continue to make decisions for yourself. Even though a Power of Attorney exists, you can continue to deal with your own affairs throughout your life. The purpose of the Power of Attorney is to become effective should it be more convenient for you to have others deal with your affairs from time to time or if, unfortunately, you are no longer able to look after your own affairs.
 

As you can see, a Power of Attorney is a most useful means of ensuring your affairs are properly looked after if or when you are no longer able to deal with them. That means the time to draw up a Power of Attorney is now!
 

If you would like to discuss drawing up a Power of Attorney, please contact us.