GET IN TOUCH : 01484 821 500

We often stress the importance of planning for the future and preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney so that if there becomes a time that you are unable to, there are people with legal authority, to make decisions on your behalf surrounding your financial affairs, health and welfare or both.

It is equally as important to think carefully about who and why you would want to appoint a certain person as your attorney and whether they are an appropriate trustworthy person that would be able to make significant and sometimes difficult decisions on your behalf.

The law dictates that an attorney must be over the age of 18 and have the mental capacity to make their own decisions. Aside from that, the decision as to who to appoint as an attorney is entirely the donors. Sadly, we are regularly appointed as Deputy by the Court of Protection for clients who lack capacity to manage their own financial affairs whereby their chosen attorney has mismanaged or misappropriated funds. It is for this reason alone that it is vital to consider the following (which is not an exhaustive list) before making a decision on who to appoint as your attorney/s -

  • The attorney does not necessarily have to be a relative and could be a trusted friend or a solicitor specialising in this area of work (particularly financial affairs).
  • If you decide to appoint a friend or family member as your attorney, you should consider how well you know them and visa versa. If you appoint somebody as your attorney to manage health and welfare decisions on your behalf, you need to be certain that they would know what your wishes and feelings would be e.g. would you prefer to stay at home with home help or move into a residential care home if this became necessary?
  • If you are appointing an attorney to manage financial affairs, you should think about how well they look after their own affairs.
  • You should also consider what responsibilities would be conferred upon the attorney and whether the attorney would be comfortable in making those decisions on your behalf. For example, they may have to make decisions regarding life sustaining treatment.
  • You should consider whether you wish to appoint a sole attorney or more than one. You can appoint more than one attorney but must decide whether you would be happy for them to make decisions ‘jointly and severally’ or together/jointly. The former meaning that one attorney can make the decision without consulting the other and the latter meaning that both attorneys would have to agree on a decision – both of which have positives and negatives.
  • You may want to consider nominating a replacement attorney/s in the event that your chosen attorney/s are no longer able to act.

There are a number of pro-active steps that you can take to ensure that your wishes and feelings are documented and so that you can be certain that you have made a rounded decision as to who you trust to manage your affairs.

For more information or to discuss your options, call our Court of Protection team on 01484 821 500 or email to book a free information session.