Choosing a Professional Attorney

When it comes to planning for the future, it is essential to consider every aspect of your well-being and financial affairs. Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney is a crucial step in ensuring that your interests are protected should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. However, choosing a professional Attorney to act on your behalf is just as important as creating the Lasting Power of Attorney itself. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting an appropriate Attorney.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make important decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity due to illness, injury, or other factors. There are two main types of LPAs in the UK:

  • Health and Welfare LPA: This type of LPA gives your Attorney the authority to make decisions about your health and personal care, including medical treatment, living arrangements, and end-of-life decisions.
  • Property and Financial Affairs LPA: With this type of LPA, your Attorney can handle financial matters on your behalf, such as managing your bank accounts, paying bills, and making property-related decisions.

If you would like to learn more, Citizens Advice has some valuable resources on their ‘Managing Affairs for Someone Else‘ page. Furthermore, Age UK has some helpful information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding LPAs on their ‘Power of Attorney‘ page.

Considerations When Choosing a Professional Attorney

Selecting the right Attorney is a critical decision, and it should not be taken lightly. Here are some important considerations to help you make an informed choice:

  • Trust and Reliability: Trust is the foundation of the Attorney relationship. Your chosen Attorney should be someone you have complete confidence in. You must trust them to make decisions that are in your best interests, even if those decisions are difficult.
  • Legal Capacity: The chosen Attorney must meet legal requirements, such as being of sound mind and over the age of 18. They should not be declared bankrupt, as this may affect their financial management abilities.
  • Understanding and Respect: Your Attorney should understand your values, beliefs, and preferences. They should respect your wishes and make decisions that align with your goals and principles. Effective communication is key to ensuring they fully comprehend your desires.
  • Accountability: Your chosen Attorney must be accountable for their actions. This means keeping detailed records of any decisions and transactions made on your behalf.
  • Financial Responsibility: If you are appointing someone to handle your financial affairs, they should have a good understanding of financial matters and be financially responsible themselves.
  • Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial. Your Attorney should be able to clearly convey your preferences to healthcare professionals, caregivers, and others involved in your care. They should also keep you informed about important decisions they make on your behalf.
  • Willingness: Discuss your preferences and expectations with your chosen Attorney. Make sure they are willing to take on this responsibility and have a clear understanding of the responsibilities and duties involved. They should be committed to acting in your best interests.
  • Availability: Your Attorney should be available to take on the responsibilities of the role. This includes attending meetings, managing your finances, and making decisions when required. Ensure that they are available and committed to this role.
  • Geographical Location: While not always possible, it is often practical to select an Attorney who is geographically close to you. This ensures they can easily visit you, manage your affairs in person, and attend meetings on your behalf without significant travel-related challenges.
  • No Conflicts of Interest: Your Attorney should not have any conflicts of interest that could compromise their ability to make decisions solely in your best interests. They should not benefit personally or have competing interests that could impact their decision-making.
  • Backup Attorneys: Appointing substitute or backup Attorneys is a practical safeguard. These individuals can step in if your primary Attorney is unable to act, ensuring there is a contingency plan in place to protect your interests.
  • Discuss Your Wishes: It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion with your chosen Attorney about your wishes, values, and preferences. This will help them make decisions that align with your best interests. If you would like to find out more about broaching the subject of end-of-life planning with your loved ones, please visit our comprehensive guide to discussing end-of-life planning.
  • Review Periodically: Life circumstances change, and the person you initially chose as your Attorney may become unavailable or unsuitable. Regularly review your LPA and consider updating your choice of Attorney to ensure it remains aligned with your best interests.
  • Record Your Decision: Document your choice of Attorney. Keep a copy in a secure and easily accessible location. Inform relevant parties about your LPA and the appointed Attorney, including healthcare providers, financial institutions, and close family members, so they are aware of your preferences.

Choosing a Professional Attorney

Choosing a professional Attorney for your LPA is a significant decision that can affect your future well-being. It’s crucial to select someone you trust who is legally competent and who has the skills and knowledge to act on your behalf effectively. Additionally, open communication and proper documentation are vital to ensuring that your wishes are respected. By carefully considering these factors, you can make a well-informed choice and have peace of mind knowing that your interests are protected.

Seek Professional Advice

Selecting the right Attorney and ensuring your LPA accurately reflects your wishes is a complex process. To navigate this path successfully, it’s strongly recommended that you seek legal advice. Here at ELM Legal Services, we can help you understand the intricacies of an LPA and also ensure that your chosen Attorney is fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations. This proactive approach can provide peace of mind and ensure that your interests are safeguarded in the best possible way.

Contact Us

If you are interested in finding out more about how LPAs can benefit your estate plan, contact us now at 0117 952 0698 or simply click on Contact Us. Alternatively, you can visit our Lasting Power of Attorney service page.

Back to articles
sunglass dog

Get our free guide to making a Will

Make an enquiry

Want to enquire about any of our services? Complete our contact form, and we'll get back to you. Alternatively, call or send us an email using the details below.