Trading as Powell Eddison Solicitors 
Trading as Avery Walters Ellis Solicitors 
Whether you’re in the process of creating a lasting power of attorney with a loved one or have been appointed as an attorney and the donor has now lost capacity, here is a guide on how to get started and ensure that you act in the donor’s best interests. 
Initial steps 
Firstly, it is important to understand how you are expected to act. You should familiarise yourself with the 5 key principles set out in section 8 of the Lasting Power of Attorney document. These include: 
1. You must assume that the donor can make their own decisions unless it is established that they cannot do so by a medical professional. 
2. You must help the donor to make as many of their own decisions as they can. You must take all practical steps to help them make a decision, and you can only treat the donor as being unable to make a decision if you have not succeeded in helping them through those steps. 
3. You must not treat the donor as being unable to make a decision because you consider their decision to be unwise. 
4. You must act and make decisions in the best interests of the donor where they are unable to make a decision. 
5. Before you make a decision, you must consider whether you can make a decision or act in a way that is less restrictive on the rights and freedom of the donor to still achieve the purpose. 
You should ensure that you have certified copies of the documents to hand, as banks and utilities may require you to send them the document. You can arrange this yourself if the donor has capacity, or a solicitor/other professional such as a notary, or the Office of the Public Guardian can do this for a fee. 
Ensure that you are aware of any instructions or preferences which have been inserted into the documents and how these may impact the decisions that you make. 
You’ve been appointed as an attorney – what does this mean? 
Being appointed as an attorney means that the person who has created it, the ‘donor’, trusts you to make decisions for them if they lose mental capacity, or with their consent in some cases. 
Mental capacity is the ability to make a specific decision at the time that it needs to be made. 
The Property & Financial Affairs lasting power of attorney covers matters such as using the donor’s bank accounts to pay their bills, claiming and using their benefits, pensions, and allowances, buying or selling their home, accessing, saving, making and selling their investments. 
We would recommend that you talk to the donor about how they look after their finances to establish: 
• Do they give birthday gifts to friends and family. If so, how much? 
• Do they donate to particular charities. If so, how much and how often? 
• Do they wish to sell their property if they move into a care home? 
• Do they wish to keep a minimum bank balance? 
Tips on acting as a property and finance attorney – 
1. Prepare folders containing the financial and official documentation of the donor so you know where they are when needed. This could include property deeds, bank statements, benefits, tax, and pension letters. 
2. Set up monthly bank statements to be posted, and ensure you keep receipts for things you buy. 
3. Keep notes of important dates such as birthdays and bill dates. 
The Health & Welfare lasting power of attorney covers matters such as the daily care and routine of the donor, medical care and where the donor lives. 
You should discuss the donor’s preferences in relation to the following: 
• Life sustaining treatment decisions. For example, does the donor wish to be resuscitated? 
• Care home preferences 
• Their current day-to-day care, including diet and dress 
• The types of treatment they wish to consent to and refuse 
Tips on acting as a health and welfare attorney – 
1. Keep a diary or notes of the health of the donor 
2. Keep an accurate record of the care that the donor is receiving. For example, keep a log of who is entering the property throughout the day/the reason for attending 
3. Show how you have made the least restrictive decisions 
4. Ensure to keep any wishes that the donor has expressed in mind when making decisions 
If you ever have questions about your authority under a Power of Attorney, you should contact the Office of the Public Guardian for further assistance. 
Alternatively, you should take legal advice to ensure that you continue to act in the donor’s best interests and within your granted authority. 
At Powell Eddison our team of specialists can provide advice about all aspects of attorney, writing Wills, reviewing existing Wills, making changes, varying estates and more. 
Contact us on 01423 564551 or email us at info@powell-eddison.co.uk to arrange your free initial, no-obligation consultation with a specialist. 
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