10 FAQ’s for Attorneys Appointed Under a UK Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney – The role of the ATTORNEY – UK

Have you been asked to be an Attorney and are you wondering what this really means? Are you concerned that you don’t know what to do?

This article explains your role and answers some key questions.

Lets start with what is expected of you as an Attorney.

FAQ’s

1. What does an Attorney have to do?

An Attorney is someone who has the authority to make decisions and act someone’s behalf.

So, you would be expected to make decisions and carry out tasks on behalf of the person who signed the Lasting Power of Attorney.

The following information should give you a good understanding of purpose of an LPA, but first, a little more background.

2. Who can be an Attorney?

Anyone over 18, you can be a friend or relative and people frequently ask their spouse to do it. Normally it is someone they trust and who knows them reasonably well. You can choose a professional attorney who will be paid for their service.

3. When do I actually have to do something? When do I become the attorney?

If the person with the LPA becomes too ill to look after their own affairs, then you as the attorney can start to make decisions and manage their affairs for them.

We call this losing capacity. You lose capacity if you are unable to make decisions.

4. How can I tell if someone has lost capacity?

Often medical staff will be the first to declare that someone has lost capacity. But you should still consider for yourself whether you think that they are able to make a decision. The law gives guidance on decision making:

  • Are they unable to understand information relevant to the decision?
  • Can they retain that information?
  • Can they weight that information as part of the process of making a decision?
  • Can they communicate it (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)?

It may be that the incapacity is only temporary, but you may still be required to make decisions for them if they are incapacitated for a short time.

There is more information in Part 3 of the Mental Capacity Act Please bear in mind that the reason for the incapacity could be physical or mental, it could be due to accident, illness or for another reason. What is important is whether they are “incapacitated”.

If you are unsure, you must get further advice. Talk to medical professionals who are treating the person who made the LPA.

Please note that it does not matter if the person is making unwise or unexpected decisions, you may not agree with them but that doesn’t mean they lack capacity. Remember, you can only act when they are no longer able to make decisions.

As an attorney you should try to help the person who signed the LPA to make their own decisions if possible.

Useful information on the capacity to make decisions can be found in the Mental Capacity Act Part 3

5. What decisions can I make? What does “manage affairs” mean?

The first thing you should do is look at the LPA document. There are two types and you may be an attorney under one or both types of LPA.

  1. Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Wellbeing or,
  2. Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs.

If you are an Attorney under a Health and Wellbeing LPA you may be asked to make decisions about various aspects of the persons personal life. For example, you could be asked to make decisions on what medical treatment they receive or where they are to live, even what they eat and wear. You will only do this if the donor has lost the capacity (ability) to make the decisions for themselves.

If you are and Attorney under a Property and Financial Affairs LPA you can make decisions about money and property, you can pay bills, collect benefits and even sell the persons home for them. You can use authority this at any time, the person making the LPA does not need to have lost capacity.

6. Doesn’t this give me a lot of responsibility?

Yes, it does. You are in a very privileged position to help someone you care for. The LPA gives you the power to access someone else’s money and property and make intimate decisions over their personal lives.

However, you cannot abuse your position. You are legally obliged to always act in the persons Best Interests. This means you can only act on their behalf and you cannot make any decisions that aren’t in their best interests. You must also take reasonable care when making the decisions.

For guidance on what “best interests” means, you should look at Part 4 of the Mental Capacity Act.

Checklist:

  • Has the LPA been properly stamped by the Office of The Public Guardian? The LPA must have been completed and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before you can do anything as an attorney.

Read through LPA document.

  • Look at any restrictions in the LPA has the person written anything in it? Look at page 6, section 5 of the LPA and make sure you comply with these restrictions. At section 6 the donor may have given the Attorneys guidance. This is does not have to be followed but should give you an idea of what the donor would have wanted if they still had capacity and it may help you decide what is in their best interests.
  • Does the document allow you to make decisions alone or do you have to make them with someone else “jointly”? You must make sure you comply with these directions. If it says “severally” this means that each attorney can act separately to the other attorney(s). Look at the LPA on page 5. You need to make sure that you can communicate with any other attorneys, especially where need to make decisions together.

Are you clear on your role and responsibilities? If not, have a look at chapters 4 and 5 of the Code of Practice of the Mental Capacity Act.

7. What happens if I have to spend my own money?

As a donor you are always entitled to claim your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that you incur on their behalf. You should always keep a record and receipts for these expenses.

The donor may wish to pay a professional attorney for their services, in which case this will be detailed in the LPA on page 6 at section 7.

8. Do I have to be an Attorney?

No, you don’t. It is always better to tell someone that you don’t want to do it at the time they are making the LPA, so that they can choose someone else. If you withdraw later it can cause many problems and a lot of confusion.

9. Can I operate a bank account for the donor (person who signed the LPA)

Yes, you can if the LPA is a Property or Financial Affairs LPA. Always look at the guidance and restrictions in the document. Also make sure that you only use their money for their best interests.

If you are managing a bank account for someone else and finding the bank is not being helpful, then have a look for the “British Bankers Association Guidance for Consumers”. It gives guidance to you and the bank to help the attorney to access an account. You may wish to take it to the bank to remind them of their role.

10. Can I act on behalf of a parent, child or friend who has completed but not registered the Lasting Power of Attorney?

No, unfortunately it doesn’t matter how much you care for them or how much they would like you to help. It must be registered or you will not have the authority you need to conduct their affairs. In these circumstances you will unfortunately have to apply to the Court of Protection for the authority to act. They have to make a decision who should help and they usually place restrictions on the role of the attorney.

What Kind Of IRS Tax Law Attorney Do You Need?

OK, you have come to the conclusion that you need an IRS tax law attorney to help with your current tax problems or for tax advice, but there is still one question that needs answering: what kind of tax law attorney specifically do you need?

Not only do tax attorneys come in different shapes and sizes, they also come with a range of skills and expertise. Choosing the right kind of tax attorney to handle your case is important so you can not only save on time and money but you can have peace of mind knowing that you have chosen the best tax lawyer to represent you.

To know the different types of tax law attorneys, all you have to know is the different types of taxation laws and tax problems then find one with the greatest amount of knowledge, experience, and expertise in it.

Tax Planning Attorney – IRS Tax attorneys that specialize in tax planning will assist in reviewing and structuring your financial affairs to prevent IRS trouble for you. Tax planning attorneys must keep themselves abreast with the latest tax laws to make the necessary changes for their clients. Tax planning attorneys can provide aid to both civilian and business clients alike.

Tax Controversy Attorney – If you already have a pending case filed in court, you need to hire a tax law attorney that is proficient in managing tax controversies. This type of tax attorney is experienced in the courtroom he is used to defending his client to the judge and jury. He is also familiar with working with the IRS and knows the right buttons to push in order to prove the innocence of their clients.

Tax controversy attorneys can be further divided into two categories: attorneys who handle civilian lawsuits, and those that are involved with corporations and businesses.

Property Tax Attorney – Tax attorneys with expertise in property tax are those who can help you renegotiate your property taxes with the IRS and ensure that you are paying the right amount. They will also help you form a solid case to present to the court and prove that whatever information gathered against you is incorrect or inaccurate. Property tax attorneys can also help you survive tax audits, file the right income and tax deductions, and make appeals if your previous attempt to clear your name fails.

Bankruptcy Tax Attorney – These are tax attorneys who specialize in handling bankruptcy cases. Bankruptcy tax attorneys help their clients file for bankruptcy and ensure that all information their clients provide about their finances is accurate and valid to achieve a positive outcome. They will also help their clients negotiate with the IRS and other creditors if any repayment is required.

It is possible that you will find tax attorneys specialize in handling all aspects of the tax law. These tax attorneys however may only choose to take on either civilian or corporate clients.

Civilian Tax Attorneys – They are able to help individuals straighten out their finances, catch up with unpaid taxes, and make sure that they continue to pay their dues on time in the future. They are usually hired on a consultation basis only.

Corporate Tax Attorneys – These attorneys are usually paid with a monthly retainer to smooth out any possible tax difficulty when the company is involved with a new project or a potential dispute with the IRS.

Based on your circumstances choose an IRS tax law attorney that is most adept in the area that you have tax problems. Remember however a tax law attorney can be hired before you encounter tax legal problems, you can get sound advice or consultation concerning your tax affairs. The tax issue that you want addressed will dictate what kind of IRS tax law attorney you need, choose wisely.

Choosing an Ohio Child Support Attorney

Choosing an Ohio child support attorney can be a significant decision for any individual to make. The professional who you engage will be responsible for getting or maintaining your legal interests in your children, your material possessions, and your income. In reality, engaging an Ohio child support attorney might be a significantly difficult experience. Do it right and you can relax. Do it incorrectly and you may have to spend quite a bit of time recovering from losses that might have been avoided.

There are some time-tested tactics that you should consider applying at the time you engage an Ohio child support attorney. Prior to starting, you had better determine the type of case that you will need to retain counsel for. Could you be mediating your child support matter? Could you be negotiating? Or, might your lawsuit might be the type of matter that ends up in court and turns into a knock down, drag out child support battle?

It is possible to find an Ohio child support attorney who specializes in these different means of addressing matters and you need be sure that you hire the kind of Ohio child support attorney who is best suited to the kind of lawsuit that you will be dealing with. If you are about to confront a bitter battle, you should not select a mediation attorney to enforce your rights. And, if you are undergoing amicable mediation, the last thing you want is an Ohio child support attorney who will create problems for you and force you into litigation.

Thus, the first thing you must do in the process of hiring an Ohio child support attorney is to decide the type of lawsuit that you have. The second step, ask other people for assistance. Since the rate at which we divorce in the U.S.A. remains at about fifty percent, it is probable that you know a few other individuals who have experienced a child support suit. Inquire about their litigation, how they picked out an Ohio child support attorney, and how their attorney did on their behalf.

Subsequent to receiving feedback on several Ohio child support attorneys that you were given from checking with people, go on the internet and research each attorney and any others that you discover online. If an Ohio child support attorney has a site online, you can read it and check to find out if there are any articles on their site that they composed on child support law. You should likewise check and determine if they have promoted their website on the web on the issue of child support law. You can find quite a bit of significant information about how any individual attorney approaches legal actions and deals with their clients by screening their website.

After you have studied the Ohio child support attorney websites, compile a list of a few Ohio child support attorneys who you think you might be at ease speaking with. Contact the office of each child support attorney and schedule an initial interview/evaluation. A few of those attorneys will charge a fee for an initial appointment; the greater experience the attorney has, the more probable that you will have to pay for time with that attorney.

At the time that you go to an initial interview with any Ohio child support attorney, be ready. Write up an statement of your years of marriage, your family situation and the troubles facing you at present. If you or your mate has filed any documents in court, make it a point to take them with you. Take recent income tax returns or a recent financial statement so that the child support attorney can look at some of your financial information prior to being questioned regarding situational “outcomes”.

Be sure you ask every Ohio child support attorney questions regarding how that professional’s office manages client phone calls, emails or other questions. If you will be going through a child support attorney who has no other attorney in their office, be ready to wait on those occasions when you want a reply. That attorney probably has additional clients who have demands just as critical as yours, and any attorney can take care of only one client at a time. Even regarding that drawback, there could be an Ohio child support attorney who you sense is appropriate for your situation who is also a sole practitioner. That is a trade-off that you should be able to work with.

After you have finished each appointment and considered the answers to all of your questions, identify which Ohio child support attorney you are more at ease with and which you believe will work with you to get the sort of final result that you desire.