Health and Social Care Integration
Supporting National Power of Attorney Day
We’re are supporting National Power of Attorney Awareness Day, which falls on 20 November 2019.
National Power of Attorney Awareness Day provides a perfect opportunity to encourage everyone to obtain a power of attorney (PoA) and help them plan properly for the future.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person, known as the attorney, the authority to deal with aspects of your affairs.
This could relate to finance and property as well as your health and personal welfare and it sets out what you would want to happen in the future if you can no longer look after your own affairs.
Knowing that these aspects of your future are taken care of can provide peace of mind to people of all ages. There is a misconception that it only applies to older people, and it is true that it helps in cases where people’s capacity becomes impaired slowly, but sudden accidents and illnesses can happen to anyone, and power of attorney can also provide reassurance for younger people in these circumstances.
Sandra McDonald (professional adviser to the Adults with Incapacity Team and ex Public Guardian) tells us about National Power of Attorney Day and shares her experiences of being appointed as an attorney.
“I was appointed as attorney to my Dad when he was about 70 but I didn’t need to start acting officially as his attorney for about 10 years after that.
Dad did his PoA just as a safeguard, I was so glad he had done so when he was diagnosed with dementia, it was one less thing to worry about. It allowed me to advocate for Dad, both on health and financial issues, in the way he would have wanted. For example, working as a partner with the health and social care providers to get the right care for him. I’ve heard stories from other people who felt excluded from decisions about their loved one but I felt empowered by the PoA.
Having PoA had many benefits. Having the formal legal status of attorney gave me legitimacy, without a PoA I would have had to apply to the court to be a guardian and be supervised by the OPG, with a lot of cost, financially and emotionally, just to look after my own Dad.
That is why I really recommend taking out power of attorney without delay, you never know the day you may need it. I’ve got one for myself and the younger members of my family on the back of our positive experience with Dad”.
Further information on the mypoacampaign, can be accessed at https://mypowerofattorney.org.uk/
If anyone is interested in taking out a power of attorney then further information is available from Office of the Public Guardian Scotland’s website at http://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/power-of-attorney.
The drafting of PoA is important and it is advisable to consult with a solicitor in the first instance.
The Adults with Incapacity Policy Review Team are also working on developing proposals for wider reform of the AWI legislation, revision of codes of practice, improved guidance for supervision of guardians and support models for guardians and attorneys.