What Is The Role Of An Attorney?
Posted on 11th August 2020
If you have been appointed as an Attorney under your loved one’s Lasting Power of Attorney, you will be asked to sign the documents to confirm your agreement to acting. You can read more about who should sign a Lasting Power of Attorney document in our Lasting Powers of Attorney Solicitors in Lancaster’s blog, here.
You will have either been appointed to act on your own or alongside other Attorneys. You may be appointed as a replacement Attorney, again, alone or with other replacement Attorneys. The Donor – the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney – will specify how you should act, if they have appointed more than one Attorney: either jointly (i.e. you must make every decision together) or jointly and severally (i.e. you can make decisions together or separately). No matter how the Attorneys are appointed, they will all have an equal right to make decisions.
So, you have been appointed as an Attorney, and it has come the time for you to act: the Donor has, sadly, lost capacity, and they need you to step in and manage their affairs. What is your role?
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
As an Attorney appointed under a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, it is your responsibility to take care of the money and property of the Donor. This includes their bank accounts, savings accounts, investments, pensions, paying any bills, or buying and selling property on their behalf.
To help you deal with this efficiently, whilst the Donor retains their mental capacity, it may be a good idea to get as much information from them as possible about where they keep their financial information or documents, including where they store the deeds to their property. Now, our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Lancaster are not suggesting that the Donor would allow you to take charge whilst they can deal with their own affairs, however, it is beneficial to know where the information will be stored. That way, if the Donor loses capacity, you do not need to waste time trying to find all of the information that you will need to manage their affairs.
You may also decide to find out what sort of wishes the Donor may have, if they have not included them in the Lasting Power of Attorney. For example, would they want you to continue making birthday gifts of money or for their other loved ones at Christmas. You could also ask what their preferences would be in terms of the sale and purchase of any property and how much money they usually like to retain in their bank account. If this information is included in the Lasting Power of Attorney, under the preferences or instructions sections, you may not need to find out.
Once you have taken up the role as the person’s Attorney, you will need to keep a detailed written record of their income and outgoings, such as their bills. You should keep a record of any receipts or paper bills that you pay. Do not mix or merge their money with your own.
Even once you are acting as Attorney, it is your job, wherever possible, to help the Donor make their own decisions. If they are not able to make these at all, you should follow any restrictions, conditions or guidance that they have included in their Lasting Power of Attorney. If it is unclear what they meant, and you do not know yourself what they would have wanted (and what is in their best interests), you could ask someone who knew the Donor.
If you need more guidance about what a Property and Financial Affairs Attorney can do, you can find more guidance from the Office of the Public Guardian on their website, here.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
If you have been appointed as an Attorney for your loved one’s Health and Welfare decisions, you may be required to make decisions about where the Donor lives, for example, in their own home or a residential home, their medical treatment, their personal care or their day-to-day routine.
If you do not already know what the Donor would want in relation to these things, once you have been appointed as their Attorney, you may wish to try and get to know their thoughts and feelings a little better. You could ask what their preferences are in relation to diet, dress, hobbies, day-to-day activities and care of their pets, for example.
Like with the Property and Finances Lasting Power of Attorney, you should try and find out details (such as the name and contact numbers) for their current care providers, such as a dentist, doctors, or opticians. You will also need to consider and follow any instructions that they have set out in the Lasting Power of Attorney itself.
If you need more guidance about what a Health and Welfare Attorney can do, you can find more guidance from the Office of the Public Guardian online, here.
Get help as an Attorney
If you need more assistance or have any questions about acting as an Attorney, you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian who should be able to assist.
Get help making a Lasting Power of Attorney
To get legal assistance from our expert Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Lancaster with drafting one or both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact the team online, here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the team will be back in contact within one working hour to discuss your requirements and confirm our excellent fixed-fees.
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