What does an attorney for property have to do?

4. Things to think about when acting as an attorney

When you act as an attorney for property, you have what are called “fiduciary duties” to the person. This means that you must act in the person's best interests. And you must also perform your duties honestly and carefully.

One of your most important goals is to make sure that the person has the best quality of life possible. You must think about their personal comfort and well-being when making financial decisions on their behalf. You cannot make these decisions based only on financial benefits and risks.

For example, if the person wants to live in a certain place and can afford it, you should pay for them to live there.

Or, if the person has an attorney for personal care, you should work with them to make sure the person is comfortable. But this rule does not apply if decisions about personal care would have significantly bad effects on the person's money and property. For example, this could happen if the cost of the person's personal care is more than they can afford and there are other options.

Other things you need to do

You also need to:

  • Keep records of anything you do with the person's money and property. And keep these separate from your own financial records. You might have to produce financial records of what you've done as an attorney.
  • Let the person know what you're doing.
  • Encourage the person to take part as much as they can in decisions about their property.
  • Consult with family members and friends who are in regular contact with the person.
  • Consult with people who provide personal care to the person, for example, nurses, doctors, and support workers.

Having to go to court

If someone says you did something wrong, you might have to prove in court that what you did was reasonable and necessary. This sometimes happens if family members don't agree about the person's .

The process for doing this is called “passing accounts”. This means getting the court to approve how you're managing the person's money and property. You do this by showing records and receipts for everything you've done.

A lawyer can help you understand what kinds of records to keep.

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