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How to choose an Attorney for your Lasting Power of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPAs’) allow you to appoint someone to assist you with your affairs. There are two types of LPA; Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs. As the names suggest, one is used to appoint someone to assist you with health matters such as care, medical treatment, etc, and one is to appoint someone to assist you with matters relating to your finances and property such as selling your property, making payments on your behalf, accessing your bank accounts for you, etc.
When thinking about who you would like to appoint as your Attorney, you need to give some thought as to whether they would be appropriate for that particular area of your life. Many clients who have instructed me to prepare LPAs for them automatically choose their children, or close relatives. Some do this because they genuinely believe they would be the most appropriate, but some do so because they feel they should, rather than giving alternatives some thought.
Tips for choosing an Attorney:
1. Choose someone who is willing to act as Attorney.
This means discussing it with them beforehand and ensuring that they are aware of all their duties and obligations and they have the time to assist you should it become necessary.
2. Choose someone who is appropriate to act as Attorney.
Your Attorney should be over the age of 18, have the mental capacity to make decisions and not be subject to a debt relief or bankruptcy order.
As your Attorney needs to be able to act when you no longer have capacity, think about their age in comparison to you.
Also think about whether you will still be in touch with the Attorney in years to come. I had one client who had appointed a former colleague and friend, but who had lost touch with her. She decided to revoke her LPA and appoint a different Attorney, which incurred costs which could have been avoided.
3. Choose someone appropriate to act for the type of LPA you are registering.
For example, you may have someone who is more appropriate for a Property and Finances LPA and someone who is more appropriate for a Health and Welfare LPA. Once of my clients decided that they were going to appoint one of their children for one type and one of their other children for another because of their respective vocations and their differing strengths in these areas.
4. Choose someone you trust to make sensible decisions for you.
This may seem obvious, but I have had clients who have instructed me to revoke LPAs when their Attorney has acted outside their authority and have done something without first discussing it with them. Although the Attorneys had good intentions, because they had not discussed it with the client, it had been the wrong decision and caused upset and mistrust. Sometimes this is unforeseen, but think about your experiences with the person you are thinking of appointing and make sure you are confident that they will consult you with decisions they make on your behalf.
5. Think about a professional Attorney
Longmores can act as Attorneys for Property and Financial LPAs which can be really helpful should other Attorneys need legal or practical assistance.
It is also useful to have a professional Attorney in circumstances where there are no other alternatives willing or able to act. Here at Longmores we manage a number of clients’ affairs for them, some of whom no longer have capacity and need us to oversee their practical and financial needs.
For those who do have capacity, although they are able to make their own decisions, they would rather we deal with day-to-day admin and the management of their finances to take the stress of such tasks away from them.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.