Following on from yesterday’s first ever National Power of Attorney day in Scotland, today is National Carers Day. There are many facets of ‘caring’, not just for the elderly or by any formal arrangement.
For any individual requiring care or assistance, obviously practical support will be a first priority. However, are your personal and financial affairs also being properly looked after for you?
Helpful for not only you, but those individuals caring for you may be having a Power of Attorney in place. A Power of Attorney requires you to have had capacity to grant the Power of Attorney in the first place. Where there was not capacity for the person to do so, or indeed capacity has been lost, then a Guardian may have to be appointed. Guardians are appointed by the Court to deal with your financial and perhaps personal welfare arrangements. The appointment of a Guardian can be a more expensive and time-consuming process than that of a Power of Attorney. As an alternative to Guardianship, a case can also be made to the Court for an ‘Intervention Order’, where the Court would appoint one or more specified persons to take one off actions or make particular decisions on your behalf.
The Scottish Public Guardian’s office gives a couple of examples on its website where a Guardianship Order may be made, illustrating the breadth of use. Be the Guardianship for a 16 year old who needs someone to help make decisions about finances and healthcare, to the elderly resident in a Nursing Home suffering from Dementia and requiring 24 hour nursing care, where there is no Power of Attorney in place. In both examples, the Guardianship to allow those caring for you to be able to access and administer your finances and make health and welfare decisions for you.
The role of a carer is a tremendous task, those individuals who take on such a role are to be applauded. Having the right paperwork in place to deal with the administration of your affairs can hopefully go somewhere to assisting them in their task.
Lynne Hopkins is an Associate in our Private Client Department. If you would like more information about Powers of Attorney or Guardianships, please contact Lynne on 01592 268608, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively contact a member of the Private Client team.