Lasting Powers of Attorney – How to be an Attorney

Posted: 11 May 2023

A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) allows an individual to appoint Attorneys to make decisions for them either under their instruction or when they are unable to make them due to a lack of mental capacity. Mental capacity for the purposes of Lasting Powers of Attorney is defined as “the ability to make a specific decision at the time that it needs to be made”.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney namely, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA and the individual making the documents (called the ‘donor’) will have selected whether they wanted one or both of these during our consultations.

Now that you have been appointed as an Attorney it is important to note what types of decisions are covered by the documents and what you should do now:-

Lasting powers of attorney

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers the following types of decisions:-

  • Using their bank and building society current and savings accounts
  • Claiming, receiving and using their state paid benefits, their state and private pensions and any additional allowances which they are or may become entitled to
  • Paying their bills including any mortgage/rent payments, care invoices and utility bills
  • Buying, selling or renting their home
  • Selling or making investments

Whenever you are making a decision under the Lasting Power of Attorney you must do so in an honest way and in accordance with the best interests of the donor. You must also try to help the donor make as many of their own decisions as possible – it is not enough to assume incapacity because an unwise decision is made.

It is important that you have regular conversations with the donor about how they look after their own finances and if they have any wishes/instructions that they would like followed. Example questions may be:-

  • Do they regularly make birthday or other customary gifts to children, family or friends?
  • Do they donate regularly to charities? Would they like this to continue?
  • What would they like to happen to their Property if they should require full time residential care in the future
  • Do they have a particular bank or building society account which is protected for another or which should not be utilised
  • Who do they bank with? Do they have complex investments? Where are the Deeds to their Property?

When you begin making decisions for the Donor about their financial affairs it is important that you keep accurate financial records. It is also advisable to keep your own money separate from theirs. Keep all bills, bank statements and details of any gifts made. Gifts can only be made if they are in the donor’s best interests, if they are affordable and do not harm the donor’s way of life. It is illegal to personally profit or benefit from acting for the donor as an Attorney.

If there are Properties to manage it would be prudent to check that they have been registered with the Land Registry.

Health and Welfare LPA

A Health and Welfare LPA allows you make decisions about the donor’s health, care and welfare.  Decisions are wide-ranging.  They can include:-

  • Where the donor lives and with whom
  • Their day-to-day routine
  • Their personal care
  • Medical treatments

As with the Property and finances document you should talk to the Donor about their wishes and preferences for example:-

  • Do they have any special dietary requirements?
  • Where do they want to live? How about in the future?
  • What do they wish to happen to any pets if they are unable to care for them in the future
  • Do they wish to dress or present themselves in a certain manner
  • Do they have any hobbies or special interests
  • Do they have any allergies?
  • Where is their GP based? Their dentist?

You should also asked them whether they have made any plans for their future care. Do they have an advance decision (“living Will”) in place? What are their wishes if life sustaining treatment is required?

You should endeavour to keep records of the decisions that you have made for the donor and the reasons why such a decision was reached.

Informing Others

When you begin using the Lasting Power of Attorney each financial or medical institution will require you to produce either the original Lasting Power of Attorney document or a certified copy. A certified copy can be produced either by the donor or this firm would be happy to produce it for you at a cost of £10 plus VAT per copy.

They will also want to see proof of your own identity.

Working with other Attorneys

If there are other Attorneys named on the LPA with you then how you act will have already been decided by the donor:-

  • Joint and several appointments – you can make decisions alone or with the other Attorneys
  • Joint appointment – you must make ALL decisions with the other Attorneys
  • Jointly for some and jointly and severally for others – you must follow the instructions contained within the LPA

If you and the other Attorneys are unable to agree to a decision then you can ask family or friends for their opinions. You can also utilise the services of a mediator otherwise you will need to ask the Court to decide for you.

 How can Taylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors help?

Here at Taylor Haldane Barlex our team of specialists can explain Lasting Powers of Attorney and your ongoing requirements. For more information, please contact our team today on 01702 298282 or send an email.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives you peace of mind that someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf in the future if you were unable to. Read our LPA guide explaining how LPA works, the benefits & how our team can support you through the process

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