30 September
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No one wants to be left in limbo should the worst happen, finding themselves suddenly incapacitated - struck down by Covid-19 or other serious illness or accident.

Whether brought about by the pandemic, a dementia diagnosis, mental health issue, traffic accident or injury at work, distressed families, friends and partners frequently discover - to their dismay - that they have no automatic legal rights to direct the medical welfare or financial affairs of a loved one who can no longer make these decisions for themselves. In such cases, a court-appointed Guardian generally steps in to oversee their welfare.

Yet it needn't be this way. Contrary to urban myth, the only officially recognised way to ensure that a trusted family member or friend is legally empowered to oversee their loved one's affairs is to have a Power of Attorney registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) ahead of time. Anyone aged over 16 years can grant a Power of Attorney, either solely addressing their welfare or financial affairs or combining both in a single document.

This is such a crucial issue, potentially affecting millions of Scots, that Scotland's health and social care partnerships have come together to actively support and spread the word about Power of Attorney Day 2021 which takes place today, 30 September, spearheaded by Health and Social Care Scotland. Multiple partners from the public, private and voluntary sector are on board, including the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), Scottish Legal Aid Board, the Law Society of Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland with support from carers' networks and advocacy groups Scotland-wide.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Power of Attorney can visit My Power of Attorney website (opens new window)