National PoA Day - 30 September 2021
Published: Thursday, 30 September 2021
Power of Attorney - its for people like you
No one wants to be left in limbo if they suddenly find themselves incapacitated - struck down by Covid-19 or other serious illness or accident.
Where a loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves – often due to a dementia diagnosis, mental health issue or injury - distressed families and partners often discover they have no automatic legal rights to direct that person’s medical welfare or financial affairs.
In such cases, a court-appointed guardian generally steps in to oversee their welfare.
The only official way to ensure that a trusted family member or partner is legally empowered to oversee their loved one’s affairs is to have a Power of Attorney (PoA) registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).
Anyone aged over 16 years can grant a PoA, addressing either their welfare or financial affairs, or combining both in a single document.
This is such a crucial issue for the people of Lanarkshire, that Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire (HSCNL) and South Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnership (SLHSCP) have joined forces to actively support and spread the word about today’s Power of Attorney Day 2021.
Multiple partners from the public, private and voluntary sector are on board, including the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), Scottish Legal Aid Board, the Law Society of Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland with support from carers’ networks and advocacy groups.
Ross McGuffie, chief officer, HSCNL, said: “The campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about establishing a PoA. It’s vital that if the person takes ill and is unable to make decisions then someone can step in.
“Having a PoA in place really can make a difference and can ensure that people’s wishes are carried out quickly without prolonged legal negotiations. If a loved one is in hospital and there is no PoA this can delay the patient’s discharge and have them remain in hospital longer than necessary.
“PoA isn’t just for the elderly or infirm - it’s for everyone. It doesn’t mean giving away your power or legal rights nor does it replace your will. It’s a straightforward document to safeguard your own wishes during your lifetime.”
Soumen Sengupta, director, SLHSCP, said: “I would urge everyone in Lanarkshire who is eligible to prepare a PoA. We know that appointing an attorney can relieve a lot of stress and heartache for families in what are already difficult situations.
“Appointing an attorney makes sense as it will help to protect you and your family should an accident or ill-health affect your ability to make decisions for yourself.
“You never know when your physical or mental health could change as a result of accident or illness. It’s important that people ensure they decide who should look after their affairs if they are no longer able to.”
Both medical professionals and attorneys are legally empowered to authorise Power of Attorney.
More details are available at https://mypowerofattorney.org.uk/