July 21, 2019 | Lasting Powers of Attorney

The primary advantage of the Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”), is that it enables you to choose people you trust to act as your attorneys and make decisions on your behalf.   

What choices do I have?

You can choose:

  • the people you want to act; and
  • if you appoint more than one person, how you want them to make decisions.

If you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place, the Court of Protection will make these decisions for you. It will be for the judge to decide who should take control of your affairs.

Who can act as an attorney?

You can appoint anyone over the age of 18 to act as an attorney.

However, whether you are appointing an attorney to make decisions about your finances or your health, you must be confident that they are the best person for the role.

Our Top Tips for choosing your attorneys:

1 – Make sure you have the right number of attorneys

You will need at least one attorney; although, you may wish to consider naming more than one or at least a replacement attorney.  Appointing more than one attorney will ensure that if your original attorney dies, or loses mental capacity themselves, there is another person ready and willing to act on your behalf.

2 – Choose attorneys that will work as a team

If you are appointing more than one attorney, it is essential that they can work together as a team.

If you appoint your attorneys to act jointly, they will need to agree on all decisions unanimously.  Where they cannot work together to make decisions, your LPA will fail.

Where you appoint attorneys jointly and severally, so that they can make decisions independently, you will want to know that your attorneys will communicate with each other to prevent conflicts arising.

3 – Choose attorneys with the appropriate skills

It is important to consider whether the person in question has the appropriate skills to act as an attorney.

For example:

    • How good are they at managing their own money?
    • Are they well organised?
    • Will they have time to help you?
    • Do they have enough life experience?
    • Are they comfortable making medical decisions?
    • Will they be able to understand and weigh the pros and cons of various treatment options?

4 – Check your attorneys are happy to act

We recommend that you take the time to talk to your chosen attorneys and explain why you want them to act and what the role will entail.  You should give your attorneys sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether they want to accept the position.

You do not want to appoint an attorney who later refuses to step up.

5 – Make sure your attorneys understand your wishes

When making decisions on your behalf, your attorneys must act in your best interests.  In determining what is in your best interests, they will need to consider your past and present wishes.

Ideally, you want to appoint attorneys who either understand what your wishes are or are willing to find out.

6 – Choose attorneys you trust

Finally, it is crucial that you trust your chosen attorneys to respect your wishes and act in your best interests at all times.

If you would have any questions about LPAs or the role of an attorney, please click here for our contact details. 

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