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Lasting Powers of Attorney have been with us for more than a decade and are well known as useful documents to ensure continuity of affairs particularly if mental capacity is lost. But less is known about the role of the attorney once they take up the role or who would be the pest person to fill the role. We read of cases where an attorney’s appointment has been cancelled by a court due to the misuse of the power more frequently than in cases where the power of attorney has been abused by the attorney. In most cases the misuse of the power is due to the attorney not understanding their role.

The choice of attorney is crucial. The donor (the person making the Lasting Power of attorney) needs to be satisfied the proposed attorney has the necessary skills and competencies. A solicitor will discuss with the donor the skills that the attorney must have. Sometimes, the obvious choice for an attorney may not always be the best choice. In the absence of using a professional, such questions will not arise as the power of attorney forms themselves do not raise these points.

A solicitor will help the donor to think about these important issues and what safeguards may be included within the power. Such safeguards will likely not be considered where the document is not being prepared by a professional but can be vital to ensuring the proper and effective use of the power and prevent issues at a later date.

An attorney should also seek professional assistance at the time they are being asked to act so that they can understand their duties and how they should conduct themselves especially in relation to conduct of financial matters. Such steps will ensure that a person’s affairs are managed effectively and should also provide transparency which as a result may prevent accusations of abuse or misuse arising.

If you would like further information in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact us.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.