You can appoint any adult with legal capacity who agrees to the appointment. If the need arises, your attorney will be in control of your financial affairs. It is vital that you have confidence in your attorney to make wise decisions on your behalf and have your best interests at heart.
Acting as an attorney is a demanding job filled with wide ranging responsibilities. It requires a good working knowledge of legal, business, financial and investment matters. It may be unreasonable to ask a friend or relative to take on this role. That is why many people choose to appoint the Public Trustee as their attorney.
Attributes of a good attorney
- is not busy with family and work commitments, to ensure that they have enough time for the role;
- has financial and/ or legal skills, as some estates can be very complicated, especially if there are share portfolios or investment properties;
- will keep personal finances separate from their own and keep accurate records of dealings and transactions;
- can make potentially difficult decisions free from pressure and emotion (e.g. selling family home and contents);
- is not susceptible to other forms of influence;
- can be trusted to act in the best interests of the individual, now and in the future;
- understands and accepts that they are liable for the decisions they make;
- is accessible and accountable.