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Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do. It determines how your most personal possessions and hard earned savings will be shared amongst close family and friends or charitable institutions. It is often a simple and inexpensive process. However, failure to make a Will can pose major difficulties for those left behind, for example, by paying more tax than necessary. Your Estate may be distributed as to the Law of Scotland and a Court appointed Executor, rather than complying to your express wishes. It is particularly important that you leave instructions if you own your home or other property. By making a Will you can also give clear instructions as to how you wish to celebrate your life at your funeral rather than leave it to well intentioned relatives and friends who may very well be upset at the time of your passing. A Will can also specify who will care for any of your children by appointing a Guardian named by you in order to safeguard the wellbeing of your children after you have passed. A simple Will can cost very little. Call us today to discuss your options and the likely cost.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Having a Power of Attorney allows you to plan what you would wish another person to do for you at some time in the future. If you should become incapable of making decisions about your own affairs a Power of Attorney is a written document which includes a Certificate signed by a Solicitor who is registered with the Law Society of Scotland to practice law in Scotland. It is essential that you receive the best possible advice at the time you are considering granting a Power of Attorney. As there are many different powers they require to be tailored to be specific to your needs.
Powers of Attorney can deal with both your financial and welfare affairs. Should you be currently declared as bankrupt you can make a Power of Attorney to deal with your personal welfare decisions but not about your financial and property affairs. One of our experienced Solicitors can discuss this further with you if this should apply.
In order to complete a Power of Attorney this usually involves two meetings with the Solicitor, the first to take instructions and the second to carry out the signing and certifying. We will complete all the necessary forms for you to sign and all necessary forms for registration at the Office of the Public Guardian which is necessary for the Power of Attorney to have full effect. With Hall Norrie Warden you can be assured that the job is professional done ensuring that the Power of Attorney complies fully with the registration requirements of the Office of the Public Guardian and will be accepted by financial institutions and other relevant people in the future.
We strongly advise clients to enter into a Power of Attorney regardless of age. As should a person lose capacity it is then not possible to enter into a Power of Attorney. At that point a Guardianship Order is required.
What is a Guardianship Order?
This is a Court appointment which authorises a person to act and make decisions on behalf of an Adult with incapacity. Anyone with an interest can make an application for a Guardianship Order. When we refer to an Adult, this is someone who is aged over sixteen and who is not able to look after their own affairs.
A Guardianship is likely to be more suitable when decisions need to taken on an ongoing basis. Before applying for a Guardianship Order, it is essential that legal advice is sought from an experienced Solicitor in order to ensure that the appointment will benefit the Adult and is appropriate under the circumstances. Our Solicitors have many years of experience in applications under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.
After you have taken the appropriate legal advice the application will then be placed before a Sheriff at the Sheriff Court who will consider whether or not the powers sought are both appropriate and beneficial to the Adult. The application will include a list of the powers sought in order to look after the Adult’s affairs. Powers can be requested to deal with the Adult’s property and/or financial affairs and/or to make decisions about their personal welfare.
For children who are about to reach the age of sixteen, you can apply for a Guardianship Order up to three months before the child’s sixteenth birthday. This is appropriate where a child may have, for example, learning difficulties and require his or her parents to make decisions to safeguard his or her future.
Applying for a Guardianship Order is not a simple procedure and requires the experience of not just a Solicitor but a Solicitor experienced in such applications being made before the Court.