Lasting power of attorney

You (the donor) can give lasting power of attorney to allow one of more recipients (attorneys) on health and wellbeing, property and financial affairs or both. This is a legal document which gives attorney’s permission to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable (lack capacity) to do so.

Lasting power of attorney can be used alongside an advance decision and if there is any disagreement the most recent document is the one used. Lasting power of attorney can make any decision regarding your health and welfare.

As a legal document the lasting power of attorney needs to involve you as the donor, attorney(s), a certificate provider (to demonstrate that you are not being pressured into your choice) and up to five people to be notified when the document is registered. It does not require a solicitor but must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian which involves a fee. The decision can take 8-10 weeks to be implemented.

Differences in Scotland

Health and welfare is known simply as a welfare attorney. In Scotland you need to provide a written document with the names and addresses of your attorney(s) and any powers you would like them to have. You
must make a clear statement that you understand the powers of welfare and that you have considered capacity. Your signature must be witnessed, and that witness must then sign the document themselves. Power of attorney comes into force if you lack capacity.

A separate document regarding capacity must also be submitted. This is certificate that needs to be signed by a solicitor who is registered to practise law in Scotland or by a practising doctor in the UK to state that they are satisfied you understand the purpose of welfare power of attorney. That you understand the powers the attorney(s) would have and that you are not being pressured into giving them these powers.

The final documents together must be submitted to the Scottish courts and tribunal services which involves a fee.