It’s reassuring to know someone will carry out your wishes if you can’t make important decisions for yourself. 
Advances in technology and medicine mean we can look forward to longer and healthier lives. However, many of us know that, as we grow older, we should put plans in place. 
If not for our own sake, it will give our friends and family peace of mind. 
You can appoint a close relative to be your attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows someone else to take over responsibility for your finances or care if needed. 
Your attorney can be responsible for all aspects of your wellbeing, so it’s an important decision for you to make. Most people ask a close friend or relative, but it’s important that they understand your wishes and what the role involves. 
Attorneys can make mistakes 
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) can investigate the actions of attorneys or deputies, who are appointed if you don’t have an LPA. In the 2022/23 year the OPG closed 2,504 cases, compared to 2,411 the previous year. In most cases the OPG was satisfied no further action was needed. Some attorneys were asked to re-account for their activities to show they were following the code of practice. However, two out of 10 investigations were referred to the Court of Protection for action. 
One reason investigations are increasing is that more of us are deciding to put LPAs in place. However, many people who act as attorneys don’t have any previous experience and can accidentally make mistakes. 
Your attorney should make decisions in your best interest and take account of decisions you have made in the past. Wherever possible they should make decisions in keeping with your previous choices, so they should know you well. 
Keep everyone informed 
To help your attorney, you should give some guidance, ideally in writing. If your attorney has any strong objections to your wishes you might need to choose someone else. 
It’s important your family, friends, carers, and advisers know who you have chosen and what you’ve asked them to do. 
This helps everyone understand the implications of your wishes, and it could prevent problems later on. It’s very helpful to let your doctor, council and bank know who has been appointed as your attorney. 
Do your filing 
One of the biggest challenges for your attorney is finding out what’s needed. You can help them a lot by keeping good records. File things like utility bills and bank statements so your attorney can find them easily. 
They should also keep records of any decisions they make on your behalf and why. In case they’re needed, it’s also a good idea to have several certified copies of your LPAs in your files. 
Easy to understand 
To make it clear what your attorney does on your behalf, they must keep your money separate from their own. 
In some circumstances your attorney can give gifts on your behalf. The test is ‘reasonableness’. This could include wedding gifts or financial help to someone you have helped before or who is related to you. 
The overall size of your estate will indicate whether the gift is of a ‘reasonable value’. It’s also important to make sure you will have enough left for your own needs. This might apply if you need to go into a care home in the future, for example. 
There’s useful guidance for attorneys on the government’s website. 
If you or your attorneys would like some advice I am happy to guide you through the process, just give me a call. 
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