News In Focus
Society to provide further guidance on powers of attorney
Additional guidance for solicitors preparing powers of attorney is being drawn up in a collaboration between the Law Society of Scotland and the Mental Welfare Commission.
Today's announcement follows the publication of a report by the Commission, "Powers of Attorney and their Safeguards", which highlighted a case of abuse of a couple with learning difficulties by a relative to whom they had granted powers of attorney.
Adrian Ward, convener of the Society's Mental Health and Disability Committee said it was vital to ensure that powers were granted validly and free from undue influence, to protect against misuse once in operation. "People with mild impairments of capacity who are nevertheless able to grant at least simple and straightforward powers of attorney are entitled to do so, and should be assisted to achieve the maximum autonomy which they can in this way", he said. "For them, however, the safeguards are particularly important."
Mr Ward added that the Society had been addressing solicitor awareness of the inter-related questions of capacity and undue influence, and other factors, and the Commission had agreed to work with the Society in developing guidance.
"The Law Society of Scotland has always valued and actively supported the vital independent role of the Mental Welfare Commission. The Society and the Commission will continue to work together, and will do so in developing guidance on issues of incapacity and undue influence, both generally and specifically for continuing and welfare powers of attorney."
Mr Ward's committee is addressing the issue.