Being An Attorney

The number of people making use of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) agreements has increased enormously in recent years. In fact, according to data from a Freedom of Information request, the number of LPAs has increased threefold since 2010.

This is undoubtedly a good thing; LPAs allow someone to nominate an ‘attorney’ – usually a friend or loved one – to step in and make decisions on their behalf should they no longer be able to do so.

Living With Dementia

The number of people with dementia is also rising – according to the Alzheimer’s Society there are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and that is expected to pass the million mark by 2025. As a result, an LPA is an excellent piece of planning, ensuring that someone you trust is able to make decisions in your best interest should the need arise.

But what about the people that are asked to be an attorney? What does it mean for them?

For starters, it’s important to note that this is a significant responsibility. Generally people are advised to select friends or loved ones who are reliable to be their attorney, as there may be a lot of administration involved, such as sorting out a care home and keeping on top of paying the care fees. You will need to keep up-to-date records of the ‘donor’s’ affairs too.

Best Interests

At all times, you will need to act in the best interests of the person asking you to be their attorney, acting in accordance with the terms of the LPA.

What’s more, you cannot ask anyone else to take over your duties unless the donor has authorised you to do so.

Speak To The Donor

All of this will be unpaid too, though you will be able to claim reasonable expenses. If you believe that it may be too much for you, then it is important to speak to the donor in advance of the LPA being registered, before it is too late.

Jim Emsley, managing director from ELM Legal Services said: “The growing use of LPAs is excellent to see, as they can help give donors peace of mind that someone they trust is making decisions on their behalf. However, selecting the right attorney may be more complicated than it first appears, and it is vital that attorneys are clear on their responsibilities before taking on the role.”

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