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Can a Scottish POA be used in England?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document, ensuring there is someone to manage your affairs - making decisions regarding your health and financial matters when you are incapable of doing so yourself. However, the validity of a Power of Attorney (PoA) can become more complicated if you move away from Scotland or hold assets that are based outside of England. In this article, we will look at whether a Scottish Power of Attorney can be used in England, but first it’s important to understand what exactly a PoA is.


What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal deed in which you appoint a person to be responsible for your financial or personal affairs (or both!) in the event you lose the ability to look after them yourself. This can vary from incapacity as a result of an illness or an accident, or through the ageing process.


By taking precautionary measures and registering a chosen person to act as your Power of Attorney, you allow for your trusted loves one to make crucial decisions on your behalf about your health, care, and financial affairs. This ensures that you are protected.


If you become unable to deal with your affairs, and have not granted power of attorney, no one has automatic rights to deal with your affairs. This can result in a legal guardianship being required, which may be a rather lengthy and costly process.


Understanding the Differences between Scottish and English Powers of Attorney

Scottish and English PoA’s have some similarities, but there also some key differences between the two of them. In Scotland, Power of Attorney can be wide ranging but generally are split into two kinds: a “Continuing Power of Attorney” or a “Welfare Power of Attorney.” However, in England a Power of Attorney is known as a “Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Additionally, one of the key differences between Scottish and English PoA’s are their place of registration. An English Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales.


The Validity of Scottish Powers of Attorney in England

While a Scottish PoA is legally valid in Scotland, whether it can be used in England or Wales is something of a grey area. The validity of the PoA depends on the approach of the organisation you are dealing with e.g., a bank, or a pension company.

The Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland, who are responsible for registering Powers of Attorney state the following:


“A Scottish PoA can be used in England or Wales if an Organisation (e.g., a bank) accepts its authority, but if they do not things are more problematic. The Organisation may require an endorsement of the Scottish PoA from the English authorities [Court of Protection] but the MCA does not appear to allow for such an endorsement.”

Office of the Public Guardian [Scotland]


The Office of the Public Guardian goes on to state that authorities in England are aware of this issue and are in the process to set legislation in place which will focus on this issue, where an opportunity arises.


Thomas Bradley & Co will be happy to assist you with preparing a Power of Attorney in Scotland, or to discuss the possibility of using a Power of Attorney in England further. If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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