In our experience advising Attorneys, we have actually found that the best place to start is by going through the general qualities that an Attorney should ideally have. From there, you can think through your list of family and friends and choose someone whose personality and financial savvy make them the right fit for the job of running a Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
The character required for the Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare will be significantly different. Not all potential attorneys can manage the “hard” skills of finances and the “soft” skills of dealing with Welfare issues, doctors and perhaps negotiating with Social Services as to which Care or Nursing Home you should spend the rest of your life in.
And maybe they will need to be strong enough to “ban” people who upset you from seeing you – and making the right decisions. Soft but tough when needed, and really understanding what YOU would want. Maybe even making the decision to turn off life support (if you allow them the decision) when it is felt there is no reasonable prospect of a proper recovery.
1. A good LPA Attorney must be Trustworthy
One of the most important qualifications for the Finance LPA must trustworthiness. This is an essential requirement, considering your Attorney will be potentially privy to all your financial information and may manage all of your money, should you lose the ability or desire to do so. You should feel confident knowing that your attorney will manage your financial affairs as you would wish, rather than use the proceeds of your estate as if it were their own personal bank account. Thankfully, there are a number of laws intended to keep this type of financial abuse in check, but it still does happen and it’s hard to recover the proceeds once they are gone.
2. A good LPA Attorney must be Fair-minded
Fair-mindedness is another ability the good Attorney should have. You will want your family all to be treated fairly and equally. You don’t want to run into a situation where someone you’ve appointed shows favouritism towards certain family members and doesn’t act in your best interests.
3. A Good LPA should be Loyal – to you
To the you, and to the heirs. But not trying to cut your living standards with a view to leaving more for your beneficiaries when you do die. This sort of behaviour is not as uncommon as you would wish it to be.
4. A good LPA Attorney must be both strong, confident and cool under pressure
Finally, you’ll want to choose an Attorney who is strong-minded, confident and cool under pressure. Following the illness of a loved one, emotions can run high among the family. Some will be far more concerned about what they can get from you than what they can do for you. Tensions can run high and your Attorney should be prepared to keep such squabbles in check should fights break out regarding the administration of your affairs.
5. A good Welfare LPA Attorney must understand you
Empathy with you and an understanding of you and your wishes in medical and family matters are essential. Similar characteristics do apply to the Finance Attorney, but the requirement is much strong in the Welfare area or you may be caused much needless distress just by thoughtless decisions.
While choosing your LPA Attorneys is no doubt a tough decision to make, we are here to help guide you through the process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us as a resource if you need assistance setting-up a Lasting Power of Attorney and ultimately choosing an Attorneys to manage your finances and Welfare if you should be on of the 6 out of 10 of us who need such services through unexpected accident or illness or just old age.
6. A Good LPA Attorney
At least one or two of your LPA Attorneys need to be much younger than you if it is possible. Imagine a 100-year-old attorney looking after a 105-year-old person, and you will see the problem! All of the LPA attorneys don’t have to be much younger than you, but ideally, one or two of them, or the reserve Attorney should be many years younger. Children under 18 at the time the Lasting Power of Attorney is signed cannot act, so it may be necessary to review your LPA Attorneys every few years. At least, that would be good practice, and it is something that our Peace of Mind Service encourages and reminds you of.