Power of attorney registrations rising every year

Julie McMahon

Power of attorney registrations have risen by nearly 40 per cent in four years.

Figures from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service indicate that there were 63,209 POAs registered between April and December 2017, up from 2013/14’s figure of 45,526.

Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale obtained the figures, which provide that the number of attorneys has increased from 69,952 in 2013/14 to almost 100,000 in 2017.

Julie McMahon, an associate at Aberdein Considine (pictured), explained that the increase was in part the result of people in their 50s and 60s getting their affairs in order.

She said: “We do have a lot more people in the older age bracket with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“We’re getting a lot more people living longer and requiring them because they find they need assistance with either financial matters or care.

“But there’s also a second generation who have been through a situation where their parents didn’t have a power of attorney.”

Ms Dugdale commented: “These figures suggest that more Scots are taking the sensible step of putting their financial and legal affairs in order.

“A power of attorney ensures that people still have the maximum say in what happens if one day they can’t make decisions for themselves.

“Dementia care is one of the biggest challenges facing the Scottish government, and that’s one reason why a professor of dementia studies is on Scottish Labour’s NHS workforce commission which is examining solutions for the future.

“We know that people are facing barriers after years of SNP cuts to local budgets, so it’s time for careful planning because the number of people with dementia is steadily increasing.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Making an active directive, or appointing a power of attorney, is an individual decision and we would encourage anyone considering making one to seek specific professional advice.

“As part of our national commitment to post-diagnostic support, Link Workers will help people with dementia and their loved ones think about planning earlier for future decision-making.”

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