As a property and financial affairs attorney, your main duties are helping to look after money matters for the donor.
Your responsibilities can also extend to make, or help the donor to make, decisions about properties (e.g. buying and selling).
For example, you would be assisting with decisions about common fiscal issues such as:
- Buying and selling property as well as making and selling investments.
- Opening, closing, and running bank and building society accounts
- Paying taxes, bills, claiming pensions, welfare benefits, and allowances.
You would be able to use the donor’s money to pay for many things. Typical examples include those used for the upkeep of their home and other day to day items (e.g. food).
But, some plans will need discussing with their health and welfare attorney (if they already arranged one). As a rule, they will be decisions that affect the daily routine, living arrangements, or medical care for the donor.
An Example: A power of attorney for property purchases may decide to sell the home of the donor. But, they would need to discuss the matter with a health and welfare attorney to determine where the donor will live after selling it.
The Donor’s Money and Property
In most cases, you must keep the finances of the donor separate from those of your own. But, some exceptions apply. Typical examples might include something in joint names, such as a bank account or a home.
Managing the Bank Accounts
There are several steps to follow before you start to manage the donor’s accounts. The bank will need to see the original registered lasting power of attorney (LPA). In some cases, you can certify a copy of a lasting power of attorney to meet this requirement.
When managing the donor’s bank and building society accounts, you also need to provide proof of:
- Your full name your address.
- The name or the address of the donor (if they are different to those on the account).
Note: In some cases, the bank or building society might ask you to provide some extra documents as proof.
Spending Money on Gifts and Donations
The lasting power of attorney will state what you can and cannot spend the donor’s money on. So, unless it states otherwise, you will be able to spend their money on:
- Gifts to friends, family members, or acquaintance of the donor. As a rule, it should be on occasions when you would usually present them with gifts (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries).
- Donations to charities. It should be charitable organisations that the donor would have no real objection to (e.g. one they donated to on a previous occasion).
You must apply for a one-off decision from the Court of Protection for other types of gifts and donations. This rule applies even if the donor has given money to the same people before. It would include:
- Allowing someone to live in the property of the donor who is not paying the market rent. Making a payment below market value would count as a gift.
- Giving anyone interest-free loans.
- Payments made for someone’s school or university fees.
One of the responsibilities of a property and financial affairs attorney is checking the donor can afford to pay for any gifts or donations. This applies even if they paid for similar things before.
Note: You must make sure they can sustain their care costs before donating their money to someone else. Read further guidance on giving gifts or donations for someone else (as a deputy or an attorney).
Buying and Selling Properties
As a rule, you will need to find a legal adviser to buy or sell the donor’s property if:
- The selling price will be below the market value.
- You want to purchase the property yourself.
- You are planning to give the property to someone else.
Making a Will
You can apply to make a statutory will on behalf of someone else if the donor needs to make one but is unable to do it themselves. But, a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney does not authorise you to change a donor’s will.
Note: The courts can order you to repay the donor’s money if you make decisions to benefit yourself or misuse it.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Lasting Power of Attorney | A section explaining the duties, obligations, and the responsibilities of LPA.
Start Acting as an Attorney | Checks you need to make before you start making decisions for the donor.