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What is Power of Attorney

Navigating Family Legal Matters: The Power of Attorney Explained for Hamilton Families

When it comes to legal matters related to family, having a power of attorney can provide peace of mind and ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of all parties involved. Families in Hamilton can benefit from seeking professional advice on creating and utilising a power of attorney.

The Essential Guide to Power of Attorney with Nicholson O'Brien Solicitors

Navigating the complexities of legal documents can be daunting, especially when it involves the sensitive subject of one’s personal affairs. This is where the expertise of Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors shines, providing peace of mind with their comprehensive power of attorney (POA) services.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney, commonly referred to as POA, is a legal document that grants one individual—the ‘attorney’, the authority to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal, in making important decisions and managing their affairs. This authority can be broad or limited, depending on the specific terms outlined in the document in matters of property, finances, and medical care. This document becomes particularly crucial when the donor loses mental capacity to make informed decisions due to illness or injury.

There are various types of power of attorney, each serving a different purpose. The most common types include:

  1. General Power of Attorney: This grants the agent broad powers to act on behalf of the principal in financial and legal matters. It is often used when the principal is unable to handle their affairs due to physical or mental incapacity.
  2. Limited Power of Attorney: As the name suggests, this type of POA limits the agent’s authority to a specific task or purpose. For example, the principal may grant limited power of attorney to someone to handle a real estate transaction on their behalf.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney: Unlike a general or limited power of attorney, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This ensures that the agent can continue to act on their behalf and make decisions for them.
  4. Medical Power of Attorney: This type of POA specifically relates to healthcare decisions. It grants the agent the authority to make medical choices on behalf of the principal if they are unable to do so themselves.
  5. Springing Power of Attorney: This POA only becomes effective once a specific event or condition occurs. For example, it

Lasting Power of Attorney: A Lifeline in Times of Need

Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors specialise in creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a legal tool that ensures your affairs are in trusted hands. An LPA is not just a document; it’s a declaration of trust and foresight, allowing you to nominate a trusted friend, family member, or professional to manage your private affairs and business dealings, should you become unable to do so.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

This type of LPA covers decisions about your property and finances. Whether it’s managing your bank accounts, paying bills, or dealing with the local council, Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors ensure that your financial affairs are handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

Health and Welfare LPA

When it comes to medical care, having an LPA in place means that your nominated attorney can make decisions about your health, from routine check-ups to life-sustaining treatment, ensuring that your wishes are respected and acted upon.

The Process: Simple, Secure, and Straightforward

The team at Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors makes the process of setting up an LPA as straightforward as possible. From the initial consultation to the final act of authorisation, they guide you through each step, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that your document is robust against any third-party scrutiny.

Why Choose Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors?

With years of experience in civil and family law, the solicitors at Nicholson O’Brien offer not just services, but a service that is tailored to your unique circumstances. They understand the importance of having a legal authority you can trust, especially when it comes to sensitive matters like POA.

What rights does a power of attorney holder possess?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone, known as the attorney-in-fact or agent, the authority to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal, in various legal, financial, and personal matters. In Hamilton, as well as in the United Kingdom, the rights and responsibilities of a power of attorney holder are defined by specific laws and regulations.

As a power of attorney holder in Hamilton, you possess several rights that are crucial for carrying out your duties effectively. These rights include:

  1. Making Financial Decisions: One of the primary responsibilities of a power of attorney holder is managing the principal’s financial affairs. This includes handling banking transactions, paying bills, managing investments, and filing tax returns on behalf of the principal. You have the authority to make decisions regarding the principal’s finances, ensuring their best interests are always upheld.
  2. Making Healthcare Decisions: Depending on the type of power of attorney granted, you may have the power to make healthcare decisions for the principal. This includes choosing healthcare providers, consenting to or refusing medical treatment, and accessing the principal’s medical records. It is important to note that this authority may be limited or only come into effect if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated.
  3. Accessing and Managing Property: As a power of attorney holder, you may have the right to access and manage certain property owned by the principal. This could include real estate, vehicles, and other valuable assets. You are responsible for ensuring the property is properly

How can I make a power of attorney in Airdrie?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to act on your behalf in various financial and legal matters. This is particularly important for families in Hamilton who want to ensure their affairs are properly handled in the event of incapacitation or inability to make decisions. If you are looking to create a power of attorney, here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Understand the Types of Power of Attorney:

There are different types of power of attorney, each serving a specific purpose. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the options available in Hamilton and determine which one suits your needs best. The most common types include a general power of attorney, enduring power of attorney, and limited power of attorney.

  1. Choose the Appropriate Attorney:

Selecting the right person as your attorney is essential. This individual should be trustworthy, responsible, and capable of handling your affairs. It is advisable to discuss your decision with the person you have in mind and ensure they are willing to take on the responsibilities involved.

  1. Consult with a Family Law Professional:

To ensure the power of attorney is drafted correctly and complies with the relevant legal requirements in Hamilton, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from a family law solicitor. They will guide you through the process, ensure your document is legally binding, and help you understand any specific regulations in your jurisdiction.

  1. Define the Powers and Limitations:Once you have chosen your attorney, it is crucial to clearly define their powers and limitations. This includes specifying which financial and legal matters they can handle on your behalf, such as managing bank accounts, signing contracts, or making medical decisions. You should also consider whether you want the power of attorney to be effective immediately or only if you become mentally incapacitated.
  2. Draft the Power of Attorney Document:

With the guidance of a family law professional, you can now draft the power of attorney document. This document should include all the necessary information, such as your name, the attorney’s name, the powers granted, and any limitations or conditions. It is crucial to ensure the document is properly formatted and includes all required legal language to make it valid.

  1. Execute the Document:

Once the power of attorney document is drafted, it needs to be executed properly to make it legally binding. This typically involves signing the document in the presence of a witness or a notary public. It is important to follow the specific execution requirements set out in the Hamilton jurisdiction to ensure the validity of the document.

  1. Store and Share the Document:

After executing the power of attorney document, it is essential to store it in a safe place where it can be easily accessed when needed. Inform your attorney and other relevant individuals, such as family members or healthcare providers, about the existence and location of the document. This will ensure that it can be promptly used if the need arises.

  1. Review and Update as Necessary:Once the power of attorney is in place, it is important to regularly review and update it as necessary. Life circumstances and legal regulations may change over time, so it is crucial to ensure that your power of attorney document remains relevant and effective. Schedule periodic meetings with your family law solicitor to discuss any updates or changes that may be required.
  2. Seek Legal Advice for Disputes or Questions:

If any disputes or questions arise regarding the power of attorney, it is recommended to seek legal advice from a family law professional. They can help you navigate any conflicts or uncertainties and provide guidance on the appropriate course of action.

  1. Plan for the Future:

While the power of attorney is an important legal document, it is just one aspect of comprehensive estate planning. It is advisable to consult with a family law solicitor to discuss other estate planning tools, such as wills and trusts, to ensure that your wishes are fully protected and your family’s future is secure.


Drafting a power of attorney is a crucial step in planning for the future and ensuring that your financial and legal affairs are properly managed. By following these steps and seeking professional advice, you can create a legally binding document that provides you with peace of mind and protects your interests. Remember to review and update your power of attorney periodically to keep it relevant and effective.

How long does a power of attorney last?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters. The duration of a power of attorney can vary depending on the type and specific circumstances.

In general, a power of attorney can last for as long as you specify in the document. You have the flexibility to set a specific end date or include a clause that states the power of attorney is valid until you revoke it.

If you do not specify an end date or revoke the power of attorney, it will typically remain in effect until your death. However, it’s important to note that some powers of attorney may automatically terminate if certain events occur, such as your incapacity.

It’s crucial to carefully consider the duration of a power of attorney and ensure that it aligns with your intentions and needs. Consulting with a legal professional who specializes in family matters can provide you with the guidance and expertise needed to make informed decisions regarding a power of attorney.

Remember that laws regarding powers of attorney can vary between jurisdictions, so it’s essential to consult with a lawyer familiar with the laws in Hamilton to ensure compliance with local regulations.

When creating a power of attorney, you should also consider appointing a substitute or alternate attorney in case the primary attorney is unable or unwilling to act on your behalf. This can ensure that someone is always available to handle your financial and legal matters.

In addition to the duration of a power of attorney, it’s important to understand the different types of powers that can be granted. A general power of attorney gives broad authority to the attorney to handle all financial and legal matters on your behalf. This type of power of attorney is typically used for temporary situations or when you need someone to manage your affairs while you are out of the country or unable to handle them yourself.

On the other hand, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is often used in estate planning to ensure that someone can continue to manage your affairs if you are no longer able to do so.

It’s important to note that a power of attorney is only valid while you are alive. Once you pass away, the power of attorney becomes invalid and your will or other estate planning documents will dictate how your assets are distributed.

In conclusion, the duration of a power of attorney can vary depending on your specific circumstances and intentions. It’s crucial to carefully consider the terms and duration of the power of attorney, and consult with a legal professional to ensure that it aligns with your needs and complies with local regulations. By taking these steps, you can create a strong and effective power of attorney

Is a power of attorney the same as a living will?

No, a power of attorney is not the same as a living will. While both documents involve making decisions for someone else, they serve different purposes and have different legal implications.

A power of attorney is a legal document that designates someone (known as the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) to make decisions and act on behalf of another person (known as the “principal”) in various matters, such as financial and legal affairs. The power of attorney can be granted for a specific purpose or for general decision-making authority. It is typically used when the principal is unable to make decisions due to incapacity, illness, or absence.

On the other hand, a living will is a legal document that specifically addresses end-of-life decisions. It allows individuals to express their preferences regarding medical treatment and life-sustaining measures if they become unable to communicate or make decisions. A living will typically outlines instructions regarding the use or withdrawal of life support, resuscitation, artificial nutrition, and other medical interventions.

While a power of attorney can include healthcare decision-making authority, it is not specifically focused on end-of-life choices like a living will. Additionally, a power of attorney can be effective while the principal is still alive and incapacitated, whereas a living will only applies when the individual is in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.

It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to understand the specific legal requirements and implications of both a power of attorney and a living will. They can guide you through

What is a limited power of attorney?

A limited power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on your behalf for a specific and limited purpose. It is often utilized in situations where you are unable to attend to certain matters yourself, such as due to illness, travel, or other personal reasons.

When you create a limited power of attorney, you are referred to as the “principal” and the person you appoint to act on your behalf is known as the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”. The document will outline the specific powers and responsibilities that the attorney-in-fact has, and these powers can be as broad or as narrow as you deem necessary.

A limited power of attorney can be used in various family-related matters. For example, if you are unable to attend a court hearing or sign legal documents related to a family matter, such as a divorce or child custody case, you can grant someone the authority to act on your behalf through a limited power of attorney.

It is essential to carefully consider who you appoint as your attorney-in-fact, as they will have the legal authority to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. You should choose someone you trust and who has the necessary knowledge and skills to handle the specific matter at hand.

It is important to note that a limited power of attorney is different from a general power of attorney. While a general power of attorney grants broad powers to the attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf in almost all matters, a limited power of attorney is

How much does a solicitor charge for power of attorney? Charges vary and depending on what is required to be included. We also advise of making a will or updating your won will at the same time. When you take both services together then we can look at possibly offering a small discount

Can my solicitor be my power of attorney? Scottish solicitors can be power of solicitors. The choice must be carefully considered. A solicitor will normally charge for their power of attorney services and perform them within their professional scope and Law Society of Scotland laws.

When hiring a solicitor as your attorney, make sure they agree and that you explain their powers. Depending on your power of attorney, this could involve property and finances, health and welfare, or both.

Additionally, many people choose a trusted family member or friend as their attorney because they better understand their needs. If you need legal skills, especially in complex financial or business matters, a solicitor may be best.

Consult a lawyer before making any decisions to fully understand the implications. As noted in the blog, Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors can advise.

Can you do your own POA in Scotland?

Yes in theory, however it is not just a case of adding a few things to a piece of paper. There is a strict process which is required to be followed and it would be advisable to get a solicitor or lawyer involved at some stage. Please read our blog on the requirements for creating a Power of Attorney

For those seeking advice on power of attorney in Airdrie, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, or anywhere in Scotland, Nicholson O’Brien Solicitors are a beacon of legal expertise. Contact them today to ensure that your affairs, both business and private, are in capable hands.

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