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Powers of Attorney – Starting the Conversation

By Stephen Smith, Solicitor

THEY are in marked contrast to the seasonal invitations to buy the latest perfume, chocolate or electrical gadget. And what they are selling is designed to last a lot longer.

TV advert breaks are being used for the first time in Scotland to get families talking about what they want to happen when they can’t take decisions for themselves.

Power of Attorney Benefits

The benefits of having Powers of Attorney drawn up for major financial and medical decisions are being promoted in a campaign by health authorities in Glasgow.

“Start the Conversation” is emphasising how a family discussion on the topic now could save on much soul-searching and difficulties in future, when a loved one may no longer be able to take decisions themselves, either due to illness or injury.

Two adverts are being used on STV during December, one with father and daughter Johnny and Maureen Beattie, and a second with brothers Sanjeev and Hardeep Singh Kholi. The campaign is also using social media to urge those with family members approaching old age to broach the subject, with a Facebook page and under the Twitter hashtag #StartTalkingPoA.

The campaign, by Glasgow Social Work Services and the NHS, also involves solicitors promoting the benefits of Powers of Attorney, which are relatively simple legal documents to create, and can usually be completed with only a couple of appointments.

Although this work incurs legal charges, these will always be explained and agreed in advance, and will be far easier, as well as cheaper, than the cost of a court action should health or financial decisions require to be taken and consent becomes an issue.

But the main benefit being promoted by the campaign is the peace of mind in knowing that wishes will be respected, should the worst come to the worst.

Read our Essential Power of Attorney Factsheet

To support the campaign, the Glasgow Law Practice has produced a Power of Attorney factsheet, which can be viewed or downloaded free of charge, at /power-of-attorney.html.

The Glasgow Law Practice will also be offering free quotations for providing Powers of Attorney, and this will run into January 2014 to follow up on the adverts, and the conversations they have started.