LPA Who to pick to be your Attorneys Can your Attorney be someone who lives abroad

LPA Who to pick to be your Attorneys Can your Attorney be someone who lives abroad

Lasting Powers of Attorney: Who to pick to be your Attorneys? Can your Attorney be someone who lives abroad?

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose people you trust to help manage your property and financial affairs and make health and welfare decisions on your behalf when you are not able to. As mentioned, there are two different types of LPAs, Property and Financial affairs which allows your Attorneys to help with opening and closing bank accounts, claiming benefits, paying bills and buying and selling your house. Whereas the Health and Welfare LPA will allow your Attorney's to make decisions about giving or refusing consent to health care, staying in your own home or moving into residential care, when you no longer have the mental capacity to do so for yourself.

There are a few things you need to consider when choosing who your Attorney's will be. You will need to appoint at least one Attorney and there is no maximum number of Attorneys you can appoint, but its usual to have between one and four, appointing too many could make things difficult when it comes to them using the LPA. When thinking about who to appoint as your Attorney it is worth considering:

  • Who works well together,
  • Who do you trust to make these decisions for you and will they act in your best interests,
  • Will they be willing to act for you as an Attorney
  • Are they organised and good with money.

In terms who you can legally appoint, an Attorney does not need to be a solicitor, most people often decide to appoint family and close friends as they know you and your wishes the best. Anyone over the age of 18 years, who has mental capacity can act as your Attorney however someone who has previously been bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order cannot act as your Attorney for the Property and Financial Affairs LPA.

Can you appoint someone as your Attorney if they live abroad?

In theory, yes you can appoint an Attorney who lives abroad. However, in order to create an LPA document all attorneys must sign the LPA in person and have their signature witnessed, so to allow this you would need to send the documents to your Attorney in the post.

The practicalities of appointing an Attorney who lives abroad may be difficult. You would need to carefully consider how you wish to appoint your Attorneys to act, as appointing jointly may cause difficulties when it comes to Attorneys making decisions. If you do wish to appoint an Attorney abroad think about how you would like your Attorney to help you and whether this is practical.

An Attorney can no longer act for you if they:

  • Lose mental capacity
  • Decide they no longer want to act as your Attorney
  • Become bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order (only for Property and Financial Affairs LPAs)
  • Or if you are recently divorced and your ex-spouse was appointed as attorney they can no longer act unless it was explicitly written in your LPA that they can continue to act.

If an Attorney can no longer act for you or has died, this can cause issues if you have only appointed one Attorney or have appointed your Attorneys to act jointly. To try and prevent this becoming an issue it would be worth considering appointing replacement Attorneys.

Appointing your Attorneys jointly means that the Attorneys must always make all decisions together and unanimously agree on every decision. This option can be quite restrictive, especially if your Attorneys do not get along or do not live close together and as mentioned above, if they can no longer act it means none of your Attorneys can act unless you have appointed replacement Attorneys. This also applies if you have decided to appoint your Attorneys jointly for some decisions and severally for others, the LPA will no longer work for the decisions that you have chosen for them to be made jointly. By appointing your Attorneys jointly and severally, this helps to avoid any issues with your LPA no longer working, as it allows for your Attorneys to make decisions independently or together allowing the decision process for your Attorneys to be simpler and quicker.

Attorneys can make decisions that you have allowed them to make within your LPA. When making decisions for you your Attorneys must always act in your best interest and must follow the five principles set out within the Mental Capacity Act 2005. These are:

  • Your Attorneys must assume that you can make your own decisions unless it has been established that you no longer can.
  • Your Attorneys must help you to make as many decisions of your own as you can. This involves taking all practical steps to help you make the decision.
  • Your Attorneys cannot treat you as being unable to make decision just because you have made an unwise decisions.
  • Your Attorneys must act in your best interest.
  • When an Attorney makes a decision they must consider whether they can make the decision in a less restrictive way but still achieves the desired purpose.

Here at Clapham & Collinge we are able to talk through your options for your LPAs to see if they will work for you. Our Private Client Department are experts in providing advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trust, Probate and any other related matters.

To book an appointment, please contact our dedicated Client Relations Team on 01603 693510 or email enquries@clapham-collinge.co.uk

Face to face appointments are available at our Norwich, North Walsham or Sheringham offices. For your convenience, home visits can also be arranged for Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney appointments.