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The vast majority of people will go through life being in complete control: not needing to ask other people for a lot of help in taking care of themselves or doing day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, there are instances where, whether through ill health, an accident or advanced age, we need to turn to others for help in doing what we would consider to be everyday activities. Those circumstances present people with a problem: what options are available to help organise care?

The team at Innes & Mackay are among the leading firms in Inverness who provide specialist advice on the law in respect of long-term care and support. If you would like to speak to a lawyer that understands your concerns, contact our team for tailored legal advice that will meet your needs- we deal with clients all over the Highlands including Wick, Skye, Wester Ross, Sutherland and Caithness.

Power of Attorney & Guardianship What are the Options in Scotland?

It is important to understand that there are useful tools available to help you if you are concerned either for your own long-term care or for that of a loved one. However, the relevance of one or another of these tools will depend on your own particular circumstances.

Power of Attorney: Are you concerned for your own long-term care?

If this is the case, it may be wise to consider investigating the utility of a Power of Attorney. This is a kind of legal tool that will allow you to choose someone that you know and trust, who will be given legal responsibility to cater for your best interests if you are no longer able to do so yourself.

A Power of Attorney is an unusual document in that there are different kinds, and the kind that will be relevant will depend on your own particular concerns:

Are you worried about being able to look after your financial interests? 

If you have a concern that you will not be able to manage your money, or other property at a certain point in time, e.g. the onset of a disease or owing to growing older, a Financial Power of Attorney could be very useful.

This document is sometimes described as a ‘Continuing Power of Attorney’, but it will allow you to give someone responsibility for looking after your finances. The utility of the document is that you will be able to specify in detail what and how your money will be used, and in what circumstances this is to happen.

Are you worried about being able to look after your health? Welfare Power of Attorney Scotland

Alternatively, you may have a concern that you may not be able to look after your own health or general welfare in the future. It is in those instances that a ‘Welfare Power of Attorney’ can be particularly useful. It is similar to its financial counterpart, but deals specifically with your healthcare.

Unlike a Financial Power of Attorney, the person you identify to have responsibility for your care will only be given such authority when it becomes clear that you are no longer able to look after yourself.

Are you concerned for the long-term care of someone else? Guardianship in Scotland

It is not uncommon that family members may become concerned for someone within their family, who appears unable to look after themselves. However, there is often a lack of knowledge on what can be done to help. In those circumstances, it may be wise to consider applying for Guardianship of that particular person.

Guardianship involves the having complete responsibility for someone else. It is for this reason that it should not be considered lightly, nor will the courts grant an application easily. An application for Guardianship can only be granted by the Scottish courts, who will only do so if they are convinced that someone is incapable of looking after themselves, e.g. through advanced age, suffering a severe mental condition etc. Furthermore, it is vital that in considering becoming a Guardian for a family member, you provide the courts with as much information as possible regarding how you will fulfil the role: what care will you provide and how you will provide it.

Power of Attorney or Guardianship? How to decide on the appropriate measure

No matter whether you are interested in a Power of Attorney in respect of your own care, or Guardianship in respect of someone else’s, it is paramount that you take detailed legal advice on what is a very complex area of the law. Undoubtedly, people will have many questions in respect of how these legal frameworks work, and what responsibilities they carry. Read our guide for more information on powers of attorney in Scotland.

Contact our Power of Attorney and Guardianship Solicitors Inverness Highlands Scotland

At Innes & Mackay, our dedicated team of solicitors have served the local community in Inverness for many years and are regularly sought for their pragmatic, empathic approach to legal services. The team is led by Lisa Law who is an accredited specialist in Incapacity and Mental Disability Law. We will consider your needs carefully, and provide a breakdown of the different options relevant to your circumstances. Our team understand the need for legal advice to be delivered by knowledgeable, friendly advisors who appreciate the reality facing clients. For comprehensive guidance on the law in respect of caring for people, please contact our team using our online contact form or give us a call on 01463 232273.

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