Midlothian Matters - Let’s talk about Power of Attorney

Penny Stafford addresses Midlothian residents on power of attorney
Penny Stafford addresses Midlothian residents on power of attorney

A local charity, the Midlothian Financial Inclusion Network, is organising Midlothian’s first ever Power of Attorney Awareness month during November 2016, writes Penny Stafford, Penny Stafford, MFIN Power of Attorney Project Officer.

What is a Power of Attorney? Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives someone you trust powers to act on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, for example, if you were to become effected by dementia, or if due to physical difficulties you need help to manage your financial affairs.

One in three of us will experience the effects of incapacity at some point in our life, but no one including your next of kin can automatically deal with your affairs if you become incapacitated and there is no Power of Attorney in place.

Starting a conversation about Power of Attorney can be difficult especially for an older person worried about losing their independence and for carers concerned about a family member it can feel like a tricky subject. A Local Guide to Power of Attorney will be available during November and this will include ideas for how to broach the subject with family members.

Many older people or those in receipt of benefits qualify for help with the cost of setting up a Power of Attorney. For instance if you are a pensioner you can have up to £25,000 in savings and still be eligible to have Power of Attorney setup free of charge under the Legal Aid Scheme.

During November the charity will be able to link people with local solicitors who can help set up a Power of Attorney through the Legal Aid Scheme.

Also some solicitors have generously agreed to offer discounts to those who don’t qualify for Legal Aid and in some cases may even be able to waive their fee.

The full cost of setting up a Power of Attorney is normally around £380 so anyone interested in granting Power of Attorney can benefit from significant savings during the awareness month.

For more information about Power of Attorney Awareness Month contact Penny Stafford at Midlothian Financial Inclusion Network on 0131 663 9471 (Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday only) or emailher at mfin.penny@outlook.com

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