Can I carry on working after my 65th birthday?

Yes – there is no longer a compulsory retirement age in the UK.  Employers do, however, enjoy the right to dismiss an employee over the age of 65 where there are justifiable grounds for doing so based on the employee’s performance.

Can I use the equity in my house to help fund my retirement?

Yes – there are various investment products available, although great care should be taken to select an equity release product which is right for your needs.

Will the basic state pension be enough for me to live on when I retire?

The answer, largely depends on what your retirement plans are. Generally, however, the basic state pension only covers basic living and subsistence costs, and it is a good idea where possible to look at investing early enough for additional income in retirement. 

CatherineSmithOrkney.jpgI am thinking of moving abroad for part of the year.   Would it be a good idea to make a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney dealing with financial and property matters may be useful if you are likely to be unavailable for a lengthy period, but will still need matters such as bills, tax, etc. to be dealt with.  A solicitor will help in granting a power of attorney.

Do I need planning permission to create a “granny flat” at our house?

This will depend upon the extent of the works involved.  Your local authority planning division should be able to give information with whether or not consent is likely to be required.  There are special rules for listed buildings and/or properties in conservation areas.

I have heard that in Scotland elderly care is now free.  Is this true?

Only partly, the “personal care” element of care costs in Scotland is now effectively state funded.  Over and above that, however, the so called “bed and breakfast” element of care is not state funded, and these costs can be very considerable indeed.

What is “respite care”?

This is care given to an adult, perhaps following illness or an injury, and as its name suggests it is not intended to be long term.  It can often be used in a situation where the wish is to help an adult move back into their own house.

Is it possible to buy insurance against future care costs?

Yes, although few insurance companies are active in this area, and care needs to be taken in selecting the right insurance product. 

When can a local authority refuse to offer assistance with residential care costs?

This is a highly complex area.  Generally local authorities will only offer assistance with the care costs when detailed financial assessment has been carried out.  Alongside investments and assets currently available to an adult, local authority may also look at assets which may have been transferred or gifted previously.  Different local authorities have different policies and procedures in this area.

LegalAdviceOrkney.jpgI would not like to be given certain types of medical treatment if I become ill.  How can I make sure that Doctors are aware of this?

You will need to make a “Advance Directive”.  This is often known as a “Living Will”.  An advance directive can set out limits which you may wish to place on medical treatment you receive.  In order to be effective certain criteria need to be fulfilled, and anybody seeking to make an advance directive should consider obtaining legal advice. 

We have been advised by our family Doctor that an elderly relative is now deemed incapable.  Can she still make a Power of Attorney?

Unfortunately, if an adult is said to have lost capacity they can no longer make a Power of Attorney.  Generally a Power of Attorney can only be made whilst an adult enjoys full legal capacity to do so.  The appropriate road to go down would be to obtain an order under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, which could be either an Intervention Order or a Guardianship Order. 

What is a Guardianship Order?

A Guardianship Order is a court order made under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.  It is intended to allow guardians to take action for an on behalf of an adult who has lost full legal capacity.  Guardianship Orders can cover welfare matters as well as financial/property matters, or indeed both.  

Does a Guardianship Order only relate to financial and property matters?

A Guardianship Order can be restricted to financial and property matters.  However, guardianship provision in respect of welfare powers can also be sought.

What is the Office of the Public Guardian?

Office of the Public Guardian is a civil service office created under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.  The Public Guardian is charged with overseeing a variety of functions under the legislation, including registration of Powers of Attorney and administration and operation of guardianship and other orders under the 2000 Act. 

Is there any funding available to help with the cost of obtaining a guardianship?

Where welfare guardianship powers are sought, there is currently provision for non-means tested civil legal aid to be made available, provided the Scottish Legal Aid Board is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice for a guardianship order to be made.


Duncan Hill
Duncan Hill
Roy Flett
Roy Flett