PoA in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The UK population is ageing. And, as we get older, we're more likely to develop health problems and illnesses. So more and more of us are arranging for someone we trust to look after our affairs for us. One way of doing that is with a power of attorney.

Living in Scotland?

In Scotland, powers of attorney fall under the responsibilities of the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), are subject to different laws and use different terms and terminology.

Continuing power of attorney

A continuing power of attorney relates to a person's property and financial affairs. It can be used while the granter (the person wishing to grant powers to another person, so that decisions can be made on their behalf) has mental capacity if that's what they want and can carry on if and when the granter becomes incapable.

Welfare power of attorney

A welfare power of attorney relates to personal welfare decisions and can only be used if and when the granter becomes incapable.

Most people making a power of attorney in Scotland grant both types of powers in the same document.

As in England and Wales, general or ordinary powers of attorney are legal documents but they're not registered by the OPG, don't have the same safeguards and are valid only while you still have mental capacity.

You can find out more about a Continuing PoA and a Welfare PoAe above at publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/

For more details, see the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

Living in Northern Ireland?

The situation is also different in Northern Ireland, again with different terms and terminology. Powers of attorney in Northern Ireland are similar to pre-2007 Enduring Powers of Attorney in England and Wales in that they can be used without registration as long as the donor has mental capacity. If the donor loses capacity, the attorney will need to apply to the High Court (Office of Care and Protection) for registration.

See the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service website for more details.

In Northern Ireland there are also two types of power of attorney – an ordinary and an Enduring Power of Attorney. An ordinary power of attorney automatically ends if you lose your mental capacity. You can find out more above and at the Office of Care and Protection (NI)'s website.

Accessing & sharing information

Acting on behalf of a person with dementia

The law in this area can be complex for both people and organisations, leading to confusion about the rights people have under the Data Protection Act. This publication supports people affected by dementia to understand their rights. It has been put together by the Alzheimer's Society with the help of various businesses including BT.

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