Using a Power of Attorney

To use a Power of Attorney in Scotland it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian

When the Public Guardian has registered your Power of Attorney they will attach a certificate to the front of your Power of Attorney and a watermark on each page to prove it has been registered.   You must have this registered Power of Attorney showing the certificate and watermark to use it.  

How to Use A Power of Attorney in Scotland

If you have registered your Power of Attorney by post

The Office of the Public Guardian returns your registered Power of Attorney to you in the post.

As soon as you receive your registered Power of Attorney put it in a safe place. We recommend storing it in a fireproof or metal box. You should also and let your attorney know where it is.

This is because your attorney will need the original registered Power of Attorney. If your Power of Attorney is lost your attorney can contact the Office of the Public Guardian to obtain another Power of Attorney.

If you have registered your Power of Attorney online

The Office of the Public Guardian returns your registered Power of Attorney to you by email.

Print at least one copy of this immediately. Then sign each page on the bottom and complete the date and your details on the last page. By doing this you confirm it is a true copy of the original.

We recommend that you to print several copies and sign all copies. Put the signed Power of Attorney in a safe place and let your attorney know where it is. This is because your attorney will need this certified copy .

Frequently Asked Questions

How des my attorney activate my Power of Attorney ?

This will depend on when your Power of Attorney comes into effect.

If your Power of Attorney says it come into effect only when you have lost capacity.  Then your attorney will need to obtain a letter from a doctor to say that you have lost capacity to activate it.

  If your Power of Attorney does not say this. Then your financial powers can be activated any time you choose.  The welfare powers can be used if your attorney thinks you have lost capacity .

How do I use my Power of Attorney with my doctor ?

We recommend you register your Power of Attorney with your GP.

To use your Power of Attorney with your GP, you or your attorney should take the original Power of Attorney to the GP practice.   The staff will take a copy of the Power of Attorney.

The doctor cannot accept a copy of the Power of Attorney.  So, to use the Power of Attorney you must make sure you keep the original document safe and let your attorney know where it is.

What does my attorney do if I am in hospital ?

 If you go into hospital, it is likely the doctors or nurses will ask if you have a Power of Attorney.  This is to make sure they know who to speak to if you are unable to speak to them for any reason.

Therefore, you or your attorney should take the original Power of Attorney to the ward.  The staff can then copy the Power of Attorney. If you move wards, take it to the new ward too.

What if I need help at home or go into care ?

If you need care at home, it is likely the social work department and care staff will ask for your original Power of Attorney.  That’s why it is very important to store it safely.  

If you go into residential care the staff will also ask you if you have a Power of Attorney. You will need the original document. So you or your attorney should take that into the care home and let the staff take a copy. 

How do I register a Power of Attorney with the bank ?

All banks and other financial institutions have their own procedures.  Therefore, you or your attorney should contact the bank or institution directly.

Your attorney should go to the bank branch with your original Power of Attorney.  As the bank will need to know who they are, your attorney should also take identification documents for themselves such as their passport/driving licence and utility bill/bank statement.

Banks and financial institutions will not accept a copy the Power of Attorney.

How can my attorney deal with my pensions and benfits?

If your attorney needs to deal with your pensions and benefits they should contact the appropriate department. 

You or your attorney should send the original Power of Attorney to the Department for Work & Pensions and/or Pension Service. 

The Department of Work & Pensions also allow someone to become your appointee to deal with your benefits.  If you do not have a Power of Attorney this can be a simple solution to deal with your benefits.

Can my attorney vote on my behalf ?

The Electoral Registration Commission have confirmed that your attorney can apply for you to register to vote.

However, your attorney cannot vote on your behalf. 

If you think you may need help to vote, you could arrange for a postal vote or arrange for a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Can my attorney resign ?

Yes, your attorney can resign. 

They must write to The Office of the Public Guardian, you and any guardian who has been appointed. 

If you have appointed a substitute attorney, the resigning attorney should include a letter from the substitute agreeing to act.  

Can my attorney appoint someone to take their place ?

It is not possible for an attorney to appoint someone to take their place.   

Only the granter of the Power of Attorney can add or change attorneys.  This is one of the protections of the Power of Attorney.  So, if you think your attorney may become unable to act, you should appoint a joint or substitute attorney.

Does an attorney get paid for acting ?

No, unless you have said in your Power of Attorney that your attorney is to be paid.  This is because acting as an attorney is a voluntary position and your attorney can refuse if they are not paid.

Often professional attorneys, such as lawyers or accountatnts will only accept the appointment if you agree to their usual fees.

What does my attorney have to tell the Public Guardian ?

Your attorney must notify the Public Guardian of any of the following:-

your death

your attorney resigns

a change of name or address of your attorney

you attorney becomes bankrupt

another attorney becomes incapable

The notification should be in writing by post or email.  It should include the reference number of your Power of Attorney which will start PG.  If they cannot locate the reference number, they should include your name, address and date of birth.

What do I have to tell the Public Guardian ?

You must notify the Public Guardian of any of the following:-

you change your name or address 

you become bankrupt

your attorney dies or becomes incapable

you have a appointed your spouse or civil partner as your attorney and you divorce or dissolve your partnership

The notification should be in writing by post or email.  It should include the reference number of your Power of Attorney which will start PG.  If you cannot locate the reference number, you should include your name, address and date of birth.

What are duties of my Attorney ?

Your attorney must comply with the law when using the Power of Attorney.  So that means they cannot do something unless it helps you.  They must take account of your wishes and allow you to be involved as much as you can.  It also means they must consult people close to you.

Your attorney must always keep records when they use the Power of Attorney.  The records will depend on your affairs.  So if you have straightforward affairs, it might just be to keep a book.  On the other hand if your  affairs are complicated they should keep more detailed records.

Finally, it is very important that your attorney does not use your Power of Attorney to benefit themselves in any way.

What if my attorneys disagree ?

This is one of the reasons you need to choose your attorneys carefully.  It is also a reason for you to think about how you appoint your attorneys.

If you appoint more than one attorney you can say that they must always make decisions together.  This means your attorneys are “joint”.and they must always make decisions together.  So, if they disagree nothing can be done.

If you have said that any one of your attorneys can act for you, then a decision can still be made by any of your attorneys.  At POA Scotland we allow you to choose one attorney to make the final decision if they disagree.  That means you keep maximum control and choice.

Can an English Power of Attorney be used in Scotland ?

Yes, an English Power of Attorney can be used in Scotland. 

The Office of the Public Guardian have issue a certificate of recognition for non-Scottish Powers of Attorney. 

However, whether an organisation will accept an English  Power of Attorney in Scotland will depend on the organisation.  You should contact the particular organisation directly and you may want to send them the certificate of recognition from the Office of the Public Guardian.

Can a foreign Power of Attorney be used in Scotland ?

The Office of the Public Guardian have confirmed that a foreign Power of Attorney is automatically valid in Scotland.   

If it is in a foreign language we recommend you obtain a certified translation.

However, whether an organisation will accept an foreign  Power of Attorney in Scotland will depend on the organisation.  You should contact the particular organisation directly and you may want to send them the certificate of recognition from the Office of the Public Guardian.