How Many Attorneys Can I Have in an LPA?
06 March 2020
There is no limit to the number of people you can name as an attorney when making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You can also name replacement attorneys who can step in if one of the original attorneys becomes unable or unwilling to act.
If you only appoint one attorney and that person becomes unable to act, no one else will have the authority to take their place. For this reason, it can be a good idea to appoint more than one attorney, but there are factors you'll need to consider when appointing multiple attorneys.
What is an Attorney in an LPA?
An attorney is someone who you have decided should have legal authority to deal with your affairs, if there comes a time when you're unable to deal with them yourself. This can be a friend, a relative or a professional, but it's important that your attorney is someone you trust. You appoint an attorney in a legal document called a 'Lasting Power of Attorney'.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one covers health and care decisions, and one covers financial decisions. You can have one or both types of LPA in place.
Once you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney then it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in order to be activated. If you have a Health and Care Decisions LPA then the person you have nominated to be your attorney can only manage your affairs when you become unable to make decisions yourself – perhaps because of old age, illness or injury. If you have a Financial Decisions LPA then you can choose whether your attorney should be able to act for you now or only if you become unable to make your own decisions in the future.
If you have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney, you can choose the same attorney/s for both, or you can choose different attorneys for each. For instance, you might like one person to manage your finances, but another to manage your day-to-day welfare.
Couples can make Mirror Lasting Power of Attorneys, nominating each other or the same people to act as their attorneys.
How Many Attorneys Should I Appoint?
Technically you can have as many attorneys as you like but it is common to appoint between one and four attorneys.
It's advisable not to have too many attorneys, as it can cause issues if lots of people are trying to act on your behalf at once. At the same time, it's best not to have too few, or could find yourself in a position where there is no attorney able to act.
For example, if you only appoint one attorney and that person dies before you, you won't have an attorney in place. This would render your Lasting Power of Attorney ineffective. You can avoid this by appointing multiple attorneys or by putting replacement attorneys in place.
If you do decide to appoint more than one attorney, you need to decide how you want them to act – either 'jointly' or 'jointly and severally'. Jointly means that all your attorneys have to make decisions together. Jointly and severally means that they can each make decisions on their own, without the agreement of the other attorneys.
When making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can also name replacement attorneys. These can step in if one of your original attorneys can no longer act, perhaps because he/she has already passed away, is ill or simply no longer wants to be your attorney.
There are other circumstances under which an original attorney may not be able to act. Examples include where the original attorney was your husband or wife and you've now divorced, or (in respect of a Financial Decisions LPA) the original attorney has been made bankrupt.
The replacement attorney will only be able to act in the same way the original attorney was appointed to act. So if the original attorney had to act jointly with other attorneys, the replacement attorney must also make decisions with the support of the other attorneys.