As the country remains in its third National Lockdown you may wonder how you can fulfil your duties as an attorney whilst following the government guidelines on social distancing and staying at home.
The Role of an Attorney
Your role as an attorney does not change and you must continue to act in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity at all times.
An attorney cannot delegate their authority to make decisions, to anyone else. But, if an attorney is self-isolating or shielding they could ask another to go shopping or pay in cash at the bank on their behalf.
It is not possible for an attorney to temporarily give up their role. If they have accepted the role, they must act in the donor’s best interests. If the attorney feels that they are unable to fulfil their duty they must revoke their position as an attorney. If the attorney is considering the latter please seek legal advice before doing so.
If an attorney needs to make a decision but wishes to discuss it with the donor first, if the donor still has sufficient mental capacity, they should consider how urgent the decision is and whether it could be delayed.
If the decision cannot be delayed then other forms of communication can be used such as, video call or phone call to ensure the safety of others. The attorney should keep a note of the conversation and set out the steps they took to assist the donor in making a decision. The attorney can also consider any past decisions and written statements the donor may have made, and consult with other persons interested in the donor’s welfare, if appropriate.
The above covers decisions about the donor’s property and finances, and also health and welfare decisions.
If you would like further information about acting as an attorney or if you have concerns that an attorney is not acting in a person’s best interest, please call our Wills and Estates team on 01206 574 431 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org