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Power of Attorney - Start the Conversation

August 25, 2014 10:56 AM

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A campaign launched last November has seen a 44% rise in the number of people across Glasgow City registering a Power of Attorney (PoA) with Office of the Public Guardian.

The campaign, to raise awareness about the importance of having PoA granted to a trusted relative or friend, is stepping up a gear and moving into phase 2 with a further round of TV adverts, a dedicated website which provides valuable information and highlights the case of three families and their experiences in putting a Power of Attorney in place, social media and a twitter feed.

People interested in finding out more can also visit our information stands at four major locations in Glasgow (The Fort, The Forge, Silverburn and Buchanan St) where staff will be on hand to provide information and advice. The information stands will be in the four locations from Wednesday 27th to Sunday 31st August.

The campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about establishing a power of attorney so that if the person takes ill and is unable to make decisions 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 power of attorney this can delay the patient’s discharge and have them remain in hospital longer than necessary.

Jill Carson, Adult Services Manager, North West Sector, Glasgow City Community Health Partnership, said: “We were delighted with the number of people who acted following the launch of our campaign last year and have seen a 44% rise in the number of PoA’s registered. We hope this next phase will encourage even more people to start the conversation with loved ones about getting a PoA in place.

“A lot of people don’t know that if they become ill or injured and are unable to make decisions for themselves no-one else can do this for them unless legally they have been given power to do so.

“There is also a misconception that Powers of Attorney are for the wealthy or elderly but anyone over the age of 16 can grant a Power of Attorney as accidents or illness can happen at any time.

“A Power of Attorney is not just about looking after someone’s financial affairs. It also allows for welfare issues to be decided if someone is unable to make a decision about medical treatment or about where to live. This can be the biggest problem facing someone in hospital. For example, if no-one is appointed to act in the patient’s best interests, then a legal process is required before the patient can be discharged to an appropriate setting such as a care home.

Councillor Malcolm Cunning, Glasgow City Council's Executive Member for Social Care, said "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.

"Your attorney can then act as your representative and make important decisions on your behalf about vital issues such as finance, care and treatment.

"Sadly many older people spend far too long in hospital because they no longer have the capacity to decide for themselves and it takes a court order to intervene.

"The council is working in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on this issue as we know that appointing an attorney can relieve a lot of stress and heartache for families in what are already difficult situations."

ENDS

For further media information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors
An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) including video of interviews and ads as well as stills and WAV files are available on request.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a written, legal document giving someone else (your Attorney), authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf (the granter). You choose the person(s) you want to act as your Attorney and what powers you want the Attorney to have. A Power of Attorney is intended to ensure that your financial affairs and personal welfare can still be dealt with/protected in the event of you being unable to act on your own behalf.

Are Powers of Attorney not just for elderly people?
No - anyone over the age of 16 can grant a Power of Attorney. Accidents or illness can happen at any age. The sooner a Power of Attorney is completed, the better. The deed does not need to be registered straight away – it can be stored in your solicitor’s safe and only registered when your attorneys are required to commence acting.

Are Powers of Attorney not just for the wealthy?
No – a Power of Attorney is not just about looking after your financial affairs. It also allows you to choose who should decide personal welfare issues (e.g. where you live/who looks after you etc).


What sorts of powers can be included in the Power of Attorney deed?
The deed can cover both financial and welfare provisions or you can have separate deeds to cover your financial affairs and welfare matters.

The financial provisions can include power to purchase and sell heritable property (i.e. your house), power to operate bank accounts, power to claim and receive all pensions, benefits, allowances, etc. There are many other powers which can be included or left out as appropriate, depending on your circumstances.

Welfare powers can include power to decide where you should live, to have access to your personal information, to consent or withhold consent to medical treatment. There are many other powers which can be included to ensure that all appropriate powers are available to meet your needs.

Who should be appointed as an Attorney?
You can appoint anyone you wish to be your attorney, e.g. a family member, friend, solicitor
or other professional adviser. It is up to you whether you include the same person(s) as
both financial and welfare attorneys, or if you have separate attorneys to carry out the different function.

It is better to appoint more than one attorney in case your attorney is unable to act for any reason – you can appoint joint attorneys with similar or different powers, or one or more substitute attorneys to take the place of an attorney who dies, loses capacity or resigns.

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