If you are self-isolating or shielding during the coronavirus outbreak, you may be concerned about how you will take care of your financial affairs. There are measures you can put in place to allow someone you trust to handle these matters while you are unable to.
For simple financial transactions (for example, using your account to withdraw or deposit money) it may be appropriate to notify your bank that another person will be dealing with these actions temporarily and put in place a third party mandate. However, when you need someone to manage more extensive or longer-lasting financial matters, a Power of Attorney (PoA) is the most suitable solution.
A PoA gives another person (or people) the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf because, for example, you are overseas, in hospital, unwell or have lost mental capacity due to an accident or illness.
If you wish to appoint another person to deal with your financial affairs (including managing multiple bank accounts, paying bills and collecting money due to you) in Scotland two types of PoA can assist: general and continuing.
A General PoA authorises another person to make financial decisions for you on a temporary basis. If you are shielding, this may be up until the point that the advice from the Government is relaxed. It is suitable for those who need to appoint an attorney quickly and for a set period of time or specific issue.
A Continuing PoA provides a longer-term solution to delegating your financial decisions. You can opt for it to take effect while you have mental capacity and to continue if you become unable to manage your affairs in the future. Alternatively, you can choose for the PoA to become operative only if you lose capacity. Can I still make a PoA during the pandemic?
|General PoA||Continuing PoA|
|Who can make the PoA?||
Anyone who is
Anyone who is
Does the PoA have to be registered with the OPG?
|How quickly can the PoA take effect?||Once signed, it has immediate effect.||
The OPG’s target is to register PoAs within 30 working days. However, because of COVID-19, delays are expected in all but urgent circumstances.
|How long does the PoA last?||For a set period of time (you can provide an end date). Crucially, the PoA automatically terminates if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself.||In most cases, the PoA is granted indefinitely. However, you can cancel it (see below), and in some circumstances it will automatically end, e.g. if the attorney resigns.|
|Can the PoA be cancelled/revoked?||Yes. Your solicitor can help you draft a deed to revoke the PoA.||Yes, provided you are capable of making and understanding the decision. You must notify the OPG and submit a revocation certificate.|
The Law Society of Scotland has issued guidance on how legal professionals can continue to execute PoAs for their clients while respecting the Government’s social distancing rules. Please see our recent article on this for more details. In many cases, we may be able to use approved video technology to complete the work required for your PoA.
COVID-19 is forcing us all to navigate unchartered waters. At Murray Beith Murray, we are here to support you with many of the challenges you are facing at this time. If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered here, or if you require assistance with any other Power of Attorney or Estate Planning matter, please complete our contact form or call us on 0131 225 1200.
Our personal, attentive service coupled with sage, astute and commercially-minded guidance, allows us to build long-term, ongoing relationships with our clients, helping them to protect assets throughout generations. Our highly personal service reflects our culture, which is centred on integrity and trust, and the expert guidance we provide has been designed to be an investment, not an expense.