Q: I am thinking of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney and would like to appoint my two children as my Attorneys. As one of them travels a lot with his job I wonder if they would have to make decisions and sign paperwork jointly or whether one of them could act on behalf of the other?
A: If you are appointing more than one attorney you must decide at the outset how you want them to act. Do you want them to make some or all decisions on their own or do you want them to agree some or all decisions unanimously?
Most people choose to have their LPA set up so that their attorneys agree matters jointly and severally. This means one of the appointed attorneys can make simple or urgent decisions quickly and easily without asking the others and if for some reason one attorney can no longer act at all the LPA is not rendered useless.
Attorneys who are appointed to act jointly are treated in law as a single unit. This means they must agree unanimously about every decision and they must all sign any relevant documents. This can cause problems if one attorney is unavailable. Further, if one attorney becomes unable to act for any reason, the LPA will cease to be legally operational unless you have appointed a replacement.
Whichever way you decide to appoint your attorneys they will be legally bound to always act in your best interests. Further, they must ensure that you do not have the capacity to make your own decision about something before they act. Setting up an LPA is equally as important as having a Will. And speaking of Wills, it may be a good idea to ask your solicitor to update your Will at the same time as setting up your LPA.