In estate planning, attorneys (who are your enduring power of attorneys) are important people. If you are appointing joint attorneys, you want to make sure they can make the right decisions about your financial and legal affairs!
Enduring Power of Attorney
Your attorney acts on your behalf to make decisions in respect of your legal and financial affairs during your lifetime once you have lost capacity. Attorneys can be appointed separately, jointly or both. If appointed jointly, attorneys must act together, however, attorneys should always act together for significant financial and legal decisions regardless of if they are appointed separately, jointly or both. Attorneys must act in your best interest.
Frank and John are appointed as joint and several attorneys for their elderly friend Jean. Frank and John had a falling out and have not spoken for years. They refuse to work together, and Frank insists that he should be the only attorney. For Jean’s significant financial affairs, they both have differing views on the best course of action. Frank starts acting for his own interest rather than for Jean’s. This causes delay in important financial decisions for Jean. John is unsure of how to proceed without Frank’s input and raises his concerns with Jean’s solicitors. The attorney role becomes a huge burden on John. Due to their inability to get along, they must apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for directions on how to act, incurring more time and expense out of Jean’s finances.
Make sure your current attorneys have a good relationship and the ability to carry out their role in your best interest. If you are unsure, it may be time for an update to your current estate planning documents.
LSW’s estate planning lawyers can also assist you in making sure your best interests are upheld. We can be appointed as independent, trusted attorneys to assist your current attorneys in their duties or alternatively, we can solely manage your legal and financial affairs.