What does it mean to be an attorney?

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Tom Pettman


Phone 01264 325810

Email tpettman@bsandi.co.uk

When a person is appointed an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney, they take on a significant responsibility. For some, this can be a daunting prospect.

An attorney makes certain decisions on behalf of a person (the ‘donor’) who no longer has the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The donor may have had an accident or developed an illness that renders them incapable of making decisions about their health, welfare, property and finances. If the donor had the foresight to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney while they still had mental capacity, their attorney – usually, but not exclusively, a trusted family member or friend – will be able to step in straightaway and start taking care of day-to-day and longer-term matters.

The most important aspect of an attorney’s role is the duty to act in the donor’s best interests. This is the overarching rule that must govern every decision; whether that decision is about the donor’s property and finances, or their health and welfare (a Lasting Power of Attorney can appoint an attorney to either of those categories). In addition, decisions may need to be reached jointly with one or more other attorneys, so each attorney must be prepared to work with others if necessary to decide what is best for the donor.

We are firm believers that the better prepared we all are for what may lie ahead, the easier it will be to face future challenges. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a sensible move for everyone, regardless of your stage in life. And if you are named as an attorney in someone else’s Lasting Power of Attorney, finding out about this early on and getting to grips with what could be involved should mean you’re ready to put your best foot forward – if this is needed. Remember that a Lasting Power of Attorney may never be called upon; the donor may never lose their mental capacity. But being ready is key.

If you have been appointed an attorney and would like advice on any aspect of your role, or if you’d like to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, contact tpettman@bsandi.co.uk or our main reception on 01264 353411.

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