Dementia and Powers of Attorney in Scotland

 


Dementia comes in all shapes and sizes and can vary from time to time but there is a touchstone so far as Powers of Attorney (PoA) are concerned.

A diagnosis of dementia does not infer that capacity to make a PoA has been lost. When told that someone has lost capacity, the next question should always be – capacity to do what? Even with severe dementia, the capacity to go to the shops and contract to buy your groceries may never be lost. Perhaps entering into a contract for a complex investment trying to be sold by a pushy salesman may be a different matter, however!

What a diagnosis of dementia may well be, however, is a wake-up call to make your PoA as soon as possible, so don’t delay. If there is doubt, ask your doctor beforehand but, if there is no doubt, just go ahead and make one straight away.

The swiftest way to make one in Scotland is at MyScottishAttorney and, as well as lots of free information about PoA’s, there are videos which give the background, there.

You can make one for yourself or for your parents. It is available in your inbox as soon as you have paid and, although you will need a trip to the doctor to have a capacity certificate signed, it is done and dusted without the usual need of, at least, two visits to or by a Solicitor and at a lot less cost.

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce is a Solicitor who, as Director of the company behind MyScottishAttorney, makes the complicated simple and you can make  a Scottish Will or a Scottish Power of Attorney for yourself or your loved one.

Scottish Powers of Attorney are different


The comments of the English Judge on Powers of Attorney should be treated with caution in Scotland, which has it’s own laws and systems.

The most important difference is that, at the time of signing, there is an assessment of the capacity of the granter.

 A doctor or lawyer must sign a statement saying that he or she

  1. interviewed the granter immediately before he/she subscribed the power of attorney;
  2. was satisfied that, at that the granter understood its nature and extent.

This is not true in England and is an significant safeguard because it weeds out those who are abusing the vulnerable as they will not want their prey to be seen by a professional.

The Office of the Public Guardian Scotland has pointed out that most Powers are produced by lawyers and they have additional safeguards. This is true and valuable.

However, whilst the doors of the Ritz are open to all, not everybody can afford to enter them and, similarly, many people cannot afford a lawyer or are too frightened to ask for an appointment fearing the potential cost.

That is where MyScottishAttorney makes a valuable contribution. Designed by me, a Solicitor, this website provides a high-quality Power of Attorney at, approximately, a third of the price of a Solicitor and with much more convenience.

Despite the savings, the safeguard of the assessment remains in place and, accordingly, it is a safe and affordable method of providing cover should the worst occur.

Bruce de Wert

Director

For a video on how it works see https://www.myscottishattorney.co.uk/video-01.php

Why Powers of Attorney are all about trust

Well, assuming you know anything about Powers of Attorney (and if you don’t, click here) then you will know that you are placing yourself in the hands of your Attorney.

You must, therefore, have absolute trust in this person and you must, therefore, ask yourself (and be honest) do I trust this person to look after me or will they, rather, look after themselves?

If you have doubts, find someone else!

Most of the time, in my experience, it is your loved ones that you appoint. Your spouse or partner and/or children are the usual favourites.

A Power of Attorney kicks in when you decide that it should but that decision is made by you when you make the document.

Most people make it have immediate effect. This is because when you need an Attorney to make decisions for you, you need it now (for instance, if you’ve had a stroke or a fall). If it does not take effect until medical practitioners have decided you have lost your capacity, there is going to be a delay whilst they get themselves together. More information here

If you don’t have trust, you should not make it immediate but, then, if you do not have trust, you should not be appointing that person!

The benefit of immediacy, however, is that your Attorney can get to work whenever you ask them to. Perhaps there will be occasions when you cannot be bothered to go to the bank or you are abroad. It’s a very flexible document!

Making one does not take long and they are “file and forget”.

You can make one immediately –  just go to MyScottishAttorney 

And if you don’t want to do it yourself, your kids can make it for you

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

Making a Will by text message in Scotland?

Texting a Will whilst having your coffee and biscuits.

The suggestion is that you could, in the future, make a will by texting, voicemail and email.

It is, just now, England only but, to my mind, not a great idea. I am all for easing Will-making – after all I own MyScottishWill which allows you to make a valid Will at home – but I am not keen on the relaxing of the signing and witnessing arrangements. There is something about that ritual which means that people do not make hasty and unwise decisions.

It also makes it less easy for bad people to strong arm the elderly and vulnerable.  It doesn’t need much imagination  to see what could happen. It happens now with all the checks and balances.

Leaving it to a judge to decide whether it is a valid will is also questionable. In England, there is a whole legal industry of challenging Wills because the law is uncertain as to what you must leave your children. That is not true in Scotland where court fights are rare. The law should be simple and certain. If it has to go to a judge that is potentially very costly and not, I suspect, something that the deceased would have desired.

The making a Will and the reading of it, after a death, is an emotional experience. Let’s not make it harder.

You can make one immediately –  just go to  MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert
Scottish Solicitor

 

 

Lesson for Scots from legal fight over Will

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Illot – Picture PA

Will dispute fought out in Supreme Court

I think this story is quite tragic as it deals with a very sad family rift but there is a clear lesson involved.

If you want your wishes followed after your death, you must make a Will.

The story is about English law and Scots Law would have dealt with it differently but the essential fact is that the daughter, in this case, felt that she was entitled to a significant share in her mother’s wealth. Had her mother not made a Will, she would have got it a lot more than the court awarded.

So the moral of the story is, if you are the parent make a Will or what you want may not happen and, if you are the child, don’t fall out with your Mum and Dad!

One very easy, private and inexpensive way to make your Will in Scotland is at MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the Scottish Power of Attorney registration delays

Divorce and your Will in Scotland

Will image

It is surprisingly common that the ex is left something in the Will. Even more startling is that people do not change their will, at all, after a divorce.

Up until the end of 2016, not changing your Will was an option. Divorce had no effect. Not any more! Now if you want your ex to benefit, you have to specify that you have taken the new law into account or the law will treat your ex as if he or she had died before you. This means a new Will or, at least, a change to your existing Will.

That’s advice but  why would someone not change their Will after divorce?

Life isn’t black and white. You can’t live with them but does that mean you lose all respect and affection? Not if my experience of advising clients is anything to go by!

I think there are 2 reasons.

The first is pragmatic and practical. This is a person with whom you have shared a life and, quite possibly, children. Particularly, if the children are young, the ex might well be the appropriate person to care for the them and, unless you can afford a trust, leaving something to your ex may be a reasonable way to ensure that your children benefit. By this I mean that, in Wills, it is all about the blood. My experience is that most of the time Wills only mention the family. If you believe that your ex will leave everything to the children, the thought process is that by leaving something to the ex it will eventually go to the kids. Only someone who knows another intimately can know that person, so you cannot say it is wrong.

The second is some lingering affection and respect and wish to ensure that, if you are out of the picture, the ex should not end up in poverty. Just because you cannot live with them does not mean they are bad people. This reason is especially so if there are no children to leave your estate to.

Anyway, if you are in this category, change your Will now!

Bruce de Wert cropped.and websize

 

I am a solicitor in private practice and Managing Director and owner of online websites where you can make Wills, Powers of attorney and even have a divorce.  I have appeared on the BBC and STV speaking about legal matters on a number of occasions.

 

Bruce de Wert

Caithness and Sutherland Property – what happened in 2016 and the prospects for 2017.

Bruce de Wert

Bruce de Wert

Let us start with Brexit. I am very happy to report that, despite the doomsayers, the public shrugged it off!

We were delighted to find that nobody in the buying and selling market saw it as an issue. And this despite the politicians getting into (and continuing in) a lather.

Indeed, following upon the usual summer holiday lull, the market took off again and we have seen no diminution in interest in buying and selling, since.

Our own statistics indicate that sales remained steady despite the fact that Buy to Let sales dropped off a cliff following the Scottish Government imposing a 3% tax on top of the normal Stamp Duty for anyone buying a second home.

The objective was to discourage landlords from buying property and to encourage first-time buyers. It has certainly succeeded in discouraging landlords but it has failed, in this area anyway, in encouraging first-time buyers. Prices in Caithness and Sutherland are low and first-time buyers ignore the typical letting property and buy something bigger!

Having said that, generally, the lower price brackets have done well. In the early part of 2016, there was not much selling over £150,000 but, more recently, a good number of the higher priced properties have sold, as have some properties which had been “stuck” since the crash. Very welcome news!

Whilst the North ploughs its own housing furrow and national statistics should be treated with caution, RICS, the Surveyors body, in their latest report issued this month, indicate that there have been “small increases in new buyer enquiries” and that they anticipate “a gradual rise in activity over the months to come”.
Gail Hunter, director of RICS in Scotland said: – “In Scotland, prices looks set to remain firm in part caused by the lack of stock across the country”.

There is some opinion to the contrary. Talking about the whole UK market, the Halifax in October indicated that “Optimism in the housing market has taken a fall in recent months, with many people now expecting a general slowdown in the market and no, or little, change in house prices over the coming year. This sentiment is consistent with recent findings from the Halifax House Price Index which show that prices are still growing, but to a lesser extent.”

All I can say is that there is no sign of a slowdown here with continued activity right up to Xmas.

In Highland, the Registers of Scotland report that values started this year with an average price of £148,265 which, by October, had risen to £155,163.
Registers of Scotland’s director of commercial services, Kenny Crawford said: “The average price of a residential property in Scotland continues to show steady growth, with month-on-month increases in every month this year apart from February and August. This is a significant change from last year when there were decreases month-on-month in six out of the 12 months. Average prices have been steadily increasing on a year-on-year basis, too, with only one drop in average price being recorded in the past three years.”

It is always worthwhile to look at long-term trends. Sheenagh Adams, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland recently said: – “It’s been a mixed decade in the Scottish property market. Over the 10 years between 2006 and 2016, prices rose by nearly 20 per cent, whilst the volume of sales fell by a third, dominated by the dramatic fall in 2008.”

I remember, in late 2011, reporting to you that prices in Scotland since the crash had fallen by 16% and, in the North, rather more. As a result, my advice to potential sellers was stark – do not sell!

Happily, the picture has changed entirely.

We, in the North, tend not to be affected by the peaks and troughs that occur further South. We are not immune (as was seen in 2008) but, generally, the market here has its own pace and is, currently, on an upward trend.

If there is going to be the much heralded but yet unseen negative effect of Brexit (of which I have considerable doubts), I suspect that it will be some time away.

Certainly, for the past three years, we have had nothing but good news and, for 2017, my advice to potential sellers and buyers in Caithness and Sutherland is – go for it!

Anyone who would like to comment on this article or for this column to touch on any particular matter, please email me on bruce.de.w[email protected].

Bruce de Wert has over 25 years of experience of Law and Estate Agency and is the Principal Solicitor at Georgesons and a Director at Georgesons Estate Agents

 

Making an online Will with MyScottishWill- how does it work?

MSA how does it work

See other videos like this at MyScottishWill

 Video narrative

Making an online will – how does it work?

 

The concept is quite simple. I have set up the website so that it asks you a series of questions and all you have to do is answer those.

These are simple questions, for instance, your name and address and who you want to benefit. You are guided through the system by these questions and at the end of the process you have a valid Will.

You can go backwards and forwards, you can go away and have a cup of coffee, indeed, you can go away for a week and come back and finish it.

What you must understand is that you do not pay a penny until you are quite satisfied.

Having answered all the questions you are, then, presented out with a summary of what you want in your Will.

Once you are completely satisfied, you press the final button. Only then are you are asked to pay.

I have been providing this service online since 2000 and have hundreds of happy customers. The reason I think that there are happy is because it is easy, it is inexpensive and it is private.

See other videos like this at MyScottishWill

Bruce de Wert

 

Online Power of Attorney – Can I make it for Mum and Dad? Video blog

MSA make it for Mum and Dad

See other videos like this at MyScottishAttorney

Can I make a Power of Attorney for my Mum and Dad?

Video narrative

One thing I should say, when I am talking about “you” making the Power of Attorney on MyScottishAttorney, is that, of course, I know that many people are not, actually, making the Power for themselves.

I know it is, actually, the son or the daughter who is completing forms.

I just want to reassure you that that happens all the time.

I have been providing this service online for a few years now and have hundreds of happy customers and the reason I think that there are happy is because it is easy, it is inexpensive and it is private.

See other videos like this at MyScottishAttorney

Bruce de Wert

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