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What are my responsibilities as a property and financial affairs attorney?

October 4, 2023

If you have been appointed as an attorney for an individual through a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”), you have the authority to make decisions on their behalf.   Dependant on the specific provisions contained within the LPA, you can make decisions on behalf of the Donor if they have lost capacity (i.e. if they are no longer able to make decisions themselves) and possibly also with their authority whilst they still have capacity.

As an attorney for property and financial affairs, you have the authority to make or assist the donor in making decisions relating to various matters, including:

  • Managing finances, taxes, and bills.
  • Handling bank and building society accounts.
  • Managing property and investments.
  • Overseeing pensions and benefits.

As an attorney, you are responsible for acting in the best interests of the donor and exercising reasonable care when making decisions on their behalf.  You must adhere to the terms and conditions that are outlined in the LPA document, as well as support the donor in making their own decisions whenever possible, rather than solely taking control.

It is important to ensure that your personal finances remain separate from the donor’s finances (unless you already jointly own a property or have a joint bank account).


As an attorney you are expected to apply a certain standard of care and skill when making decisions on behalf of the donor. This means exercising due diligence and competence in handling their affairs.

It is your duty to carry out the donor’s instructions as specified in the LPA and take into consideration any expressed wishes they communicate to you. This ensures that their preferences and desires are honoured to the best of your ability.

You must avoid using your position as an attorney to benefit yourself personally. This is known as a fiduciary duty and requires acting solely in the donor’s best interests, with no self-serving motives.

You are required to act in good faith, demonstrating honesty and integrity in all your actions as an attorney. Trustworthiness and ethical behaviour are essential elements of this duty.

You are obliged to maintain strict confidentiality regarding the donor’s affairs, unless there are valid reasons that justify breaching confidentiality.

Furthermore, unless explicitly authorised to do so, you should refrain from delegating decision-making authority to others. The responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the donor primarily rests with you as the appointed attorney.

These duties are in place to ensure that you act in the donor’s best interests, uphold trust, maintain integrity, and safeguard confidentiality throughout your role as an attorney.

Expenses incurred whilst acting as an Attorney:

Whilst acting as an Attorney you are able to seek reimbursement for any expenses incurred while fulfilling your role. This may include hiring professionals to assist with tasks such as completing the donor’s tax return, travel expenses, phone calls, postage, and stationary etc.

Record Keeping

It is important that you maintain a record of all major decisions made by you on behalf of the donor.  Your records should include the date and rationale for each decision, as well as any individuals consulted during the decision-making process and any disagreements that may have arisen. Minor, everyday decisions do not need to be recorded.  You should also keep a record of the donor’s income, assets, and how their money is spent.


An attorney can make gifts on behalf of the donor, but there are certain restrictions and guidelines that must be followed. The ability to make gifts as an attorney depends on the specific provisions outlined in the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. The LPA may grant explicit authority for the attorney to make gifts, or it may prohibit or limit the ability to make gifts.

If the LPA does not address the issue of gifting directly, the general rule is that the attorney can make gifts on behalf of the donor, provided that the gifts are of reasonable value and aligned with the donor’s past pattern of giving or their known wishes and best interests.

It’s important to note that the attorney has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the donor. The OPG may intervene if there are concerns about inappropriate gifting or potential abuse of the attorney’s powers.

In cases where substantial gifts are contemplated, it is advisable for the attorney to seek legal advice and, if necessary, apply to the Court of Protection for approval before proceeding with the gift. This helps ensure transparency, accountability, and protection of the donor’s interests. If you are appointed as an attorney and are seeking to obtain further advice and clarification of your duties and responsibilities, please contact either our Solihull office on 0121 705 7571 or our Dorridge office on 01564 779393, or e-mail us at

Shola Parry
Training Solicitor – Wills and Probate Department

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.