Power of Attorney (Enduring and Welfare)
A Power of Attorney is a written document giving someone else authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf. This could be to deal with financial affairs and/or welfare matters. It is a powerful document that helps to safeguard the interests of people with dementia by enabling those who know them best to articulate their stated wishes, if and when they are unable to do so.
The Power of Attorney names the Attorney/s and lists the powers that they have (i.e. the areas in which they can take decisions). The Power of Attorney will also state when Attorneys can begin acting.
The Office of the Public Guardian will also direct you to a sample Power of Attorney that might be helpful as a guideline. You can write your own Power of Attorney but the document has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (£73 + VAT).
Alternatively, most solicitors will draw up Powers of Attorney documents for around £350 to £400 including registration with the Office of the Public Guardian. The fee includes a visit to the person’s home or residence to take instruction, drawing up the Powers, and returning to the home to get them signed and witnessed. If capacity is in doubt, the person with dementia will need a certificate from their GP.
Solicitors for Older People Scotland (SOPS) is an affiliation of legal firms all over Scotland who will check first to see the person drawing up a Power of Attorney qualifies for legal aid. If not, the fee is £323.80 (£455 for two Powers drawn up at the same time e.g. for husband and wife).
Wills, if not already done, should be written at this time as a will cannot be written when capacity is lost. For help with accessing your legal rights under Self Directed Support, see information about the 3 Rs Project in Section 4.