The duties of an attorney appointed in an LPA
When making a Lasting Power of Attorney you nominate a trusted person to manage your affairs and make decisions for you on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. This person is called an attorney. In fact you can nominate several attorneys and replacement or substitute attorneys if you wish but the principles apply equally to all.
Your attorney is given the legal authority to make significant and important decisions on your behalf and is bound by the requirements of proper conduct laid down in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Your attorney is legally required to:
• make decisions in your best interests
• only make decisions that are allowed within the terms of the Lasting Power of Attorney
• not pass on the powers they have been given unless authorised to do so
• keep your affairs in confidence
• ensure that attorney decisions are for your benefit and not theirs
If the attorney does not properly handle your affairs they can be required to reimburse any losses you have incurred.
There is guidance available to help an attorney to carry out the role properly. There are a number of considerations and in truth it is a role that can have its difficulties. You can see more about how an attorney should conduct him or herself and the Mental Capacity Act Code of Guidance.
Mistreating or purposely neglecting someone who lacks capacity is a criminal offence. The penalty for this is a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.
If an attorney nominated in an LPA Property and Financial Affairs becomes bankrupt at any point, s/he is prohibited from acting. However, this provision does not apply to acting as an attorney for Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
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