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What is an attorney's role?
If you have been appointed as someone’s attorney, under a Lasting Power of Attorney (also known as a LPA), then it is important that you know what your responsibilities are.
There are two types of LPA; Health and Welfare (HW) and Property and Financial Affairs (PFA). If you have been appointed as an attorney under a HW LPA, you can only use authority under the LPA once the donor has lost capacity.
Under a PFA LPA, the donor can choose when they would like assistance from an attorney; either once the LPA has been registered with the court, or once the donor has lost capacity. It is therefore important that you review the LPA to see what option the donor (the person asking you to be an attorney) has chosen.
If more than one attorney has been appointed, ensure that you have checked how you have been appointed. “Jointly” and “jointly and severally” have different meanings and Birkett Long can advise you on the differences.
Once you have established whether you have the authority to take up your role, you must also check the LPA itself to see whether the donor has included any specific instructions or preferences and you should follow them. For example, “I would like my pets to live with me” and “my attorneys must ensure I am only given vegan food”.
If you are appointed as a PFA attorney, you must send copies of the LPA to the donor’s financial institutions to enable you to deal with their affairs, otherwise, you do not have the relevant authority to access their accounts. If you are appointed as a HW attorney, you must provide a copy of the LPA to the donor’s doctor and care worker, and make the donor’s family and friends aware that you have been appointed and are using the document.
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team has experience in advising clients about what their role as an attorney entails, and so if you would like any assistance in carrying out your role as an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A free webinar for families looking after a loved-one's affairs, or looking to set up LPAs.
This event will be led by Claire Read, a wills, trusts and probate partner, and Amanda Smallcombe, head of contested trusts and inheritance disputes at Birkett Long.
Claire and Amanda will provide tips on how to manage a loved-one's affairs when they either can not, or choose not to, any longer. Amanda will talk in particular about managing the finances of someone with dementia, what happens when there is no LPA in place and statutory wills.
Both will be available to answer your questions. Sign up here.