You have been appointed an attorney – now what?

Author:Ms Rebecca Collins
Profession:Cavell Leitch

Enduring powers of attorney are very important. We recommend these to all our clients, regardless of their age or circumstance. It is now a requirement that anyone signing an enduring power of attorney (the Donor) receives legal advice before they sign. However, the person being appointed as the attorney doesn't receive any legal advice at all. If you have been appointed an attorney by a family member or friend, then this article will provide you with some guidance as to what that role entails.

As an attorney, your job is to act for the donor and make decisions for them when they cannot make decisions themselves. There are two kinds of enduring power of attorney - property, which relate to the Donor's assets, and personal care and welfare, which relates to the Donor themselves. The role could include helping the Donor pay their bills, selling their home, running their investments, finding an appropriate rest home or care facility or liaising with doctors.

When acting as an attorney you must:

Consult with the Donor, any other attorney and any other person the Donor nominates; Provide information to any person the Donor nominates; Encourage the Donor to retain their independence and develop their own competencies. As a property attorney, you must:

Keep and maintain financial records of all transactions entered into if the Donor is mentally incapacitated; Provide financial support from the Donor's assets to the personal care and welfare attorney; Use the Donor's assets to promote and protect the Donor's best interests. Use the Donor's assets for the benefit of...

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