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When you are writing your will or setting yourself up with a Lasting Power of Attorney, one of the decisions you will need to carefully consider is who you would like to appoint to manage your affairs.

   

Having a well written will and a carefully planned Lasting Power of Attorney are great ways of protecting yourself and your family, but unless they are executed well by someone you can rely on, then they may not quite do the job you had intended.

   

A brief recap:

 

Lasting Power of Attorney

 

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is a legal document which sets out who you will trust to make important decisions should you lose capacity to take care of matters yourself. This could be in the event of a serious illness or accident or come into good use later in life should you develop dementia or struggle to manage your own affairs in old age. There are two different types of LPA. A Property & Financial LPA which gives someone the power to manage your bank accounts, sell property, deal with your investments, pension etc. and a Health & Welfare LPA which allows someone to make important decisions about medical treatment, care and lifestyle.

   

The named person/s you give control to in your LPA are called Attorneys.

   

Wills

 

A will is a legal document which sets out how your estate will be managed upon your death. It can state how you would like your assets or wealth divided, name any specific beneficiaries, or wishes that you have and nominate someone to take care of all the administration of this. The nominated executor or executors will handle all of the paperwork, the registering of your death, winding up of your estate, dealing with your property, belongings and division of assets to others named in your estate. They will also be responsible for making payments and dealing with any tax liabilities.

   

The named person/s you give control to in your will are called Executors.

   

Who Can Be Your Executor or Your Attorney?

 

The law is very open when it comes to who can legally be named as an executor or attorney. Anyone over the age of 18 can be named, but it is sensible to give some thought into who would be best placed to act on your behalf or take care of matters when you are gone.

   

You can appoint more than one person. It is sensible to pick more than one because if they become unable to act for you for any reason, no one else will have the authority to take their place. It is not advised to select too many though, as they will be required to work together and too many people can increase risk of disagreement or slow the process down. A good number to choose is 2 – 4 people.

   

Often people will choose their spouse or partner, their children or just their eldest child. Those without a partner or children may chose a sibling, other family member, a close friend, neighbour or appoint a professional (such as their solicitor, bank manager or accountant).

   

Considerations When Choosing an Executor or Attorney

 

Whilst you deliberate over who to appoint to these roles, it is key to remember that this is your own personal choice. You should not feel obliged or coerced into appointing anyone that you do not feel comfortable with.

   

There are some key things to think about.

   

It is a sensible idea to research what the duties and responsibilities of an executor or an attorney for an LPA are. Can you imagine your family member or friend rising to these challenges and coping?

   

If you are choosing several people, consider if they would all agree and get along. There may be certain people in your family who you love and wish to provide for but would not trust to manage your affairs. Executors and attorneys can be beneficiaries of your estate too.

   

Family photo choosing an executor for your will appointing an attorney for your LPA

Who Would Make a Good Executor or Attorney?

 

There is a lot to think about when selecting someone who will have control over your personal matters or deal with your estate once you have died. Most importantly it needs to be someone you can trust.

 
  • Someone who has known you for a long time
  • Someone who knows you very well
  • Someone who is trustworthy and reliable
  • Someone who is in good health
  • Someone who understands or has similar values as you
  • Someone who is well organised and sensible
  • Someone who is good with finances
  • Someone who is strong minded and has ability to deal with pressing matters
  • Someone who can work well with others
 

Once You Have Chosen…

 

When you have made the decision and instructed your will or LPA to be drafted by your solicitor, it is a good idea to inform the people you have given power of attorney to or have listed as your executors.

   

They can then do some light reading to familiarise themselves with their responsibilities. They do not need to panic about this, but it is sensible to have a rough idea of what their duties will be ahead of time. Point them in the direction of our useful article: “I’m an Executor of a Will, What do I Need to do?

   

Let your executor/s know where you keep your will and other important documents. It might be useful to make a short list of important information such as who your solicitor is, where you bank or where your investments, pensions and savings are held etc.

   

Whilst it may not the easiest of conversations to have, it is worthwhile speaking to those who could potentially be making decisions on your behalf about your personal wishes. Think about a time in the future where your health could be deteriorating – what are your thoughts about resuscitation?

   

Organ donation? What type of care home would you prefer to live in? Do you have any specific funeral wishes? Do you have strong beliefs or ethical principals that you would want honoured in later life? It is a good idea to have these conversations with the people you trust to help them make the right choices for you whilst you are here. You could also create a wish list to express your thoughts and wishes. There are some websites who can help you put this together, or you can simply type or write down your thoughts and store them with your key documents.

   

Legal Advice on Wills and LPAs

 

If you are considering getting your affairs in good order or need to update your will or LPA then please get in touch with our experienced solicitors who can explain the process and book an appointment to go through everything with you.

   

We are able to offer telephone or video conference appointments if you feel safer staying at home. Alternatively, we can offer you an appointment at our offices, where we have covid-secure meeting rooms using Perspex screens to safely meet face to face. Our team can see you at your own home if mobility is an issue preventing you from seeing us.

   

For advice please call our friendly team on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or speak to our online assistant who can take your details and arrange for one of our solicitors to call you back.

   

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

What are Mirror Wills and When are They a Good Idea?

6 Things to Think About When Making a Will

Taking Care of Aging Parents

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.