There are many articles and blog entries explaining why people should create Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and the benefits surrounding their use. However, advice for prospective Attorneys should not be forgotten about given the important position they hold and the decisions they may have to make about a person’s life.
Being an Attorney may seem like a daunting and onerous role for some, therefore Bendles’ Private Client Solicitor, Liam Mulholland, has set out his top three quick start tips. Read on to find out how fulfilling your duties and responsibilities can be made simpler and easier when beginning your journey as an Attorney:
‘1) Understand what types of decisions you can make as an Attorney
Whether you have been appointed as an Attorney under an LPA for Health and Welfare or Property and Financial Affairs will affect the role you will play in someone’s life. By understanding what decisions an Attorney can make before they arise, you can plan and prepare beforehand, helping to reduce future stress.
Attorneys acting under a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can make decisions for a donor such as withdrawing or depositing funds from a bank account, investing savings or managing shares, managing any benefits a donor may be in receipt of and managing a donor’s property.
Attorneys acting under a Health and Welfare LPA can make decisions such as a donor’s daily routine for washing, dressing and eating, their medical care or where the donor lives.
2) Always act in the Donor’s best interests
One of the key principles an Attorney must always have at the front of their mind when making a decision on behalf of a donor is the following, “is the decision I am about to make in their best interests?”
To help you come to a conclusion on the above question, you should consider the donor’s past and present feelings, beliefs or values they may have. You should also consult with any close family the donor has to understand their thoughts and feelings. You should also ask the donor themselves if they have any thoughts on how the decision should be made, regardless of whether they have mental capacity or not. By considering these groups, your decision and whether it is in the donor’s best interest should be easier to make.
3) Keep a record of all your activities and any decisions made
An Attorney’s actions and any decision they may make can be scrutinised by the Office of the Public Guardian at any time. By having a written record (which is updated regularly) of the decisions made, the steps taken, and records of a donor’s income and spending an Attorney can avoid being accused of failing in their duties towards a donor.
These are just some of the best practices to keep in mind if you have been named as an Attorney for another person. But if you feel you need additional advice and assistance when it comes to fulfilling your role, please contact us for straight forward, jargon-free legal advice.’
Written by Liam Mulholland