What you need to know to act as an attorney

We highly recommend that all attorneys familiarise themselves with the Code of Practice provided by the Scottish Government as this publication provides useful help and guidance on carrying out the role. We also provide a factsheet for attorneys offering useful advice to get started.

Your Duties and Responsibilities as Attorney

  1. You must respect the general principles of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, found in section 1 when deciding to act or when exercising powers on behalf of another person.
  2. You should consult and respect the Code of Practice for Continuing and Welfare Attorneys
  3. If called upon to act, you must ensure that every measure is taken to support the granter of this power of attorney to make their own decision on any matter, or otherwise to allow them to exercise their legal capacity. 
  4. You must ensure that any decision made on behalf of the granter respects their rights, will and preferences and takes account of any known wishes and feelings, past or present. 
  5. You must communicate with relevant parties and take account of their views. 
  6. You must act within the scope of the powers granted to you.
  7. You must keep appropriate records.
  8. You are in a position of trust and must not take advantage of that position.

Proof of your appointment and authority

When you begin acting for the granter, you will need your certificate of appointment and the copy of the power of attorney we issue. It is likely that you will be asked to show this documentation to organisations such as banks, pension holder, doctor, dentist, care home providers etc. to prove that you can act and make decisions for the granter. Attorneys should be prepared to provide the documentation as your powers and authority will be detailed in the document.

Record keeping

Attorneys must keep records of how they exercise the powers granted to them. It is important that continuing attorneys keep the granter’s money and property separate from their own.

Changes to tell us about

You have a duty to tell us if:

  • You or the granter of the PoA change name or change address. It is very important that you tell us about this. When we receive the details we will update our records. This means that if we need to write to you or the granter that all correspondence will be sent to the correct address. Please see data protection section for further information.
  • You decide to resign.
  • The granter of the PoA should die (please enclose a copy of the death certificate).
  • You are a continuing attorney and either you or the granter has been declared bankrupt of if a Protected Trust Deed has been granted to either you or the granter.
  • You and the granter are married or are civil partners and then divorce or separate.
  • Another event results in the termination of the PoA.