Northwood Banks & Co Limited

couple discussing the responsibilities of an attorney with an advisor

A Power of Attorney Agreement - 7 Responsibilities

Granting a lasting Power of Attorney means that others can act in your best interests should you no longer have the ability to make decisions yourself.


Granting a Lasting Power of Attorney means that others can act in your best interests should you no longer have the ability to make decisions yourself. There are many reasons why this might occur but an agreement is a good precaution to take when you are able to do this, so what responsibilities should you consider?


1. The Qualifying Criteria

The individual has to be over the age of 18 and they have to be able to make decisions. If they are bankrupt then they are unlikely to be able to be an Attorney. It is also possible to have more than one Attorney while you can also pay a professional to take care of it too.


2. Identifying Preferences

Prior to acting as an Attorney, it is important to have a conversation with the donor to determine what their wishes are as well as their preferences so you can act as they want you to. If there is more than one Attorney, then it could also help to determine how the responsibilities would be split.


3. Important Principles

There might be specific instructions contained within the Power of Attorney agreement and you will have a responsibility to follow these. Therefore, you should help the donor to make decisions on their own as much as possible and when you do make decisions, you should do so in their best interests. Therefore, you have to make sure you respect their civil and human rights throughout.


4. The Power You Have

It is only possible to act as an Attorney for those matters that you have been asked to deal with. There are two different types of Power of Attorney and these are health and welfare and property and financial affairs. Therefore, if only one Power of Attorney has been set up to deal with one of these, you cannot get involved in the other. Additionally, the donor can also put limits on the amount of power you have within each type. As an example, they might want you to manage their bank accounts but not the ability to sell their property. This should be clearly added to any agreement.


5. You Cannot Delegate

You will have sole responsibility and cannot delegate power to others.


6. Maintain Records

If you are given the responsibility of handling financial affairs then you must make sure that you manage them individually and keep records of the donor’s affairs. This is important as it is proof that you are doing what is asked of you and where you need to provide signatures, you should use your own but clearly state that you are doing so on behalf of the donor.


7. Compliance

Institutions such as banks will need to have a record of your Power of Attorney in order to recognise that you have the authority to act on behalf of the donor. You have to remain compliant as The Office of the Public Guardian has the ability to check and investigate should they believe that something is not right.