Attorneys are appointed to act for you under a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney. Their authority originates from the power of attorney document itself and is governed by legislation which can be broadened or restricted by restrictions and conditions in the power itself.

It is important for attorneys to understand the boundaries within which they must act. If they wish to do something outside the scope of their power then they must apply to the Court of Protection for permission to act.

Attorneys must:

  • always act in your best interest. They need to be careful of finding themselves in a position of conflict with the person for whom they are acting.
  • follow the five principles set down in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and
  • have regard to the Code of Practice when making decisions.

An attorney can act for you:

  • if appointed by a Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Affairs once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian;
  • if appointed by a Health and Welfare Lasting Power when you do not have capacity to make the decision at hand;
  • under an Enduring Power of Attorney from when the document was completed (subject to any restrictions) providing it was completed properly – they must register the power when they suspect that you are beginning to lose your capacity;
  • under a General Power of Attorney once the document is completed (subject to any restrictions) but they cannot act for you once you lose capacity.

Attorneys are subject to supervision by the Court of Protection and must always be aware that they could be asked to provide financial accounts and report for their actions at any time.