good life, good death, good grief

What happens if I become too ill to make my own decisions?

Many people assume that if they become unable to make their own decisions, through ill health or accident, their next of kin will be authorised to make decisions on their behalf.

However, this isn’t automatically the case.

You need to first formally choose who will make decisions on your behalf, by giving them Power of Attorney.

You need to do this before you become ill – while you still have what is called ‘legal capacity’ to make decisions.

If you haven't done this, then your family will likely face an expensive and time-consuming process applying for a Legal Guardianship Order to be able to make decisions on your behalf.

When making someone your Power of Attorney you can choose exactly what powers you want to grant - whether relating to your financial matters, or your personal welfare. And once you’ve signed the Power of Attorney document, you’ll still have absolute control over your own affairs until a time comes when your need someone to help.

Everyone should consider making someone they trust their power of attorney.

More information about Power of Attorney

More information about Power of Attorney is available from Age Scotland here, from Citizen's Advice Scotland here , and on the website of the Office of the Public Guardian.

Our Reluctant Planners Guide To Death and Dying blog gives a first hand account of putting a Power of Attorney in place.

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Bereavement Charter for Scotland