How to ‘Start the Conversation’ about Power of Attorney

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The Scottish capacity for reticence is well-known. With Power of Attorney, such hesitation is perhaps understandable. It’s a deeply personal subject, involving those closest to you and their most intimate emotions. Particularly, it can feel tricky if you don’t often speak openly as a family. So it becomes easier just to put it off.

Perhaps there’s never a perfect time. But there are things you can do to make starting the conversation easier.

1. Open the lines of communication

Be the one to take the initiative and open the conversation. But also remember to be receptive if someone starts a PoA conversation with you. Once it has begun, you’ll probably find it easier than feared.

2. Choose your time and place

A PoA conversation can happen anywhere, at any time. We’ve already mentioned the gym as one potential, if seemingly unlikely, setting. But how about one of Scotland’s beautiful open spaces? Or a family lunch? Or a favourite café? Or while doing something you both enjoy, whether that be baking, fishing or running?

3. Understand the emotional elements

This sort of chat can spark many feelings, but try to speak from the heart without being overrun by emotion. Discuss your feelings while acknowledging the other person’s.

4. Be ready

Think in advance about what questions may arise and how you’ll answer them. When asking questions yourself, really listen to the responses and try to make your questions open, i.e. not simply inviting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. In fact, an open question could make an excellent starting-off point for your whole conversation. Give the other person space to speak, and be prepared to meet any resistance calmly.

5. Set a time limit

Intense conversation can be draining – whatever age you are. Talk for no more than an hour about Power of Attorney then chat about something else and just enjoy each other’s company. After all, as we always say, PoA is about living life to the full!


Glasgow Social Work Services are engaging with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, members of the third and independent sectors and local law firms to raise awareness and promote understanding of the benefits of Power of Attorney (PoA) arrangements. | On Twitter