As part of Power of Attorney Day on Wednesday 20th November, Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils are hosting a joint information stall with the Office of the Public Guardian at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Stirling Road, Larbert, FK5 4WR.
Additionally, Solicitors for Older People Scotland (SOPS) is offering free legal aid assessments at the Later Life Information Centre, 25 Upper Newmarket Street, Falkirk, FK1 1JH, available on Power of Attorney Day and at any point during their opening hours of Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
These sessions will explain the importance of setting up Power of Attorney, how simple a process it is, requiring only a handful of visits to a solicitor, and any legal aid available.
It is often assumed that, in the event of a serious incapacitating illness (such as a stroke) where an individual cannot communicate, that their spouse, next of kin or regular carer has authority to continue to care for them and make decisions for them.
However, in Scotland, they can legally do nothing for the incapacitated person, who has lost their “legal capacity”. These powers can only be granted through the following methods:
- by the local Sheriff Court following a court action (which is often a lengthy and expensive process)
- limited powers granted by the Public Guardian (a public official responsible for a range of legal matters relative to adults with incapacity)
- through established Power of Attorney
Often, families are faced with lengthy and expensive court proceedings (even when not contested) in order for a spouse, carer, next of kin or other relative to be awarded the power to deal with the affairs and care of their incapacitated partner.
Power of Attorney means that these court proceedings can be avoided, provided the appointment is made before incapacitation. Once appointed as attorney, the spouse, carer or other chosen individual will be granted a legal document, automatically providing them with the legal power to look after and make important decisions regarding the incapacitated individual (such as care, housing costs, and bank affairs).
Power of Attorney can be anyone the individual chooses, from spouse, child or other relative, to friend, carer or neighbour.
In addition, the majority of older people (including householders with up to £25,000 in savings) are eligible for legal aid when setting up their Power of Attorney, which can then be put in place for free.
For further information, or to book your free legal aid assessment, contact SOPS by phone: 01324 620882.