Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection specialist, Jenny Greenland, summarises the important factors to consider when choosing an attorney.
Our team are available on 01225 755656, or by email. Alternatively, you can complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
Who should I choose as my attorney?
When making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) it can sometimes be difficult to decide who to choose to act as your attorney(s). The role comes with considerable power and responsibility, so you must trust whoever you choose.
Once you have decided, it’s advisable to ask them whether they feel comfortable acting as your attorney. Explain to them what the role involves and give them time to consider.
What to consider when choosing an attorney?
Age is an important consideration. The older your attorney, the greater the prospect of them predeceasing you or even themselves losing capacity before you need them to act. If you do appoint an attorney who is of a similar age to you, or older, it’s advisable also to appoint a younger person or a professional attorney such as a solicitor. Alternatively, you can appoint one or more substitute attorneys to step into the role should your first choice attorney lose mental capacity or die. [See below: Can more than one person have power of attorney?]
There may be a good reason to appoint an attorney with particular expertise. For example, if you have business interests or an extensive share portfolio, you may consider appointing someone familiar with your business or investment expertise.
Can a family member be my attorney?
You can choose anybody as your attorney(s). In terms of lay attorneys, most people choose a spouse, civil partner, child, another family member, or a friend. Alternatively, you can choose a professional attorney who will charge for their services, or any combination of these people.
Can more than one person have power of attorney?
You can appoint more than one attorney, which is usually a good idea. However, appointing too many attorneys increases the prospect of differences of opinion arising, with a greater chance of the Court of Protection needing to become involved to make the decision(s) on your behalf. This can be time consuming and expensive.
If you appoint more than one attorney, you can specify whether they should act:
- ‘jointly’, which means that all the attorneys must agree before something can be done; or
- ‘jointly and severally’, which means your attorneys can either make decisions together or individually.
In your LPA, you can specify that your attorneys must make certain decisions jointly, but others jointly and severally.
As stated above, you can also appoint substitute attorneys to step in should one or more attorneys be unable or unwilling to act.