The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has published complete guides to fulfilling the challenging role of an attorney – someone you can choose to make financial or health and welfare decisions on your behalf.
Attorneys are appointed through a legal instrument called a lasting power of attorney (LPA), a form you sign and register with OPG naming who’ll help you with particular kinds of decisions.
Property and financial affairs attorneys look after such things as utility bills or selling a house for the ‘donor’ (the person who appointed them); health and welfare attorneys help with things such as healthcare, diet and where the donor lives.
Being an attorney can be a demanding role – like a part-time job for some – which is why OPG decided to create comprehensive guides to help attorneys be as effective as they can. Separate ‘How to be an attorney’ guides for financial and health and welfare decisions look at getting started as an attorney; how to make decisions in the donor’s best interests; and common attorney scenarios such as resolving disputes.
Plenty of case studies in the guides show how attorneys might handle common issues that come up.
The ‘How to be an attorney’ guides are available in web and print-friendly versions and are counterparts to OPG’s existing ‘How to be a deputy’ guides. Deputies fulfil a similar role to attorneys but are appointed by a court.