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Choosing Attorneys

Published: 03 June 2021
Time to read: 3 mins

Sadly, one area of law in which we have seen a substantial increase in the last few years is disputes between attorneys or between family members and attorneys.  Whilst we understand that many of these disputes arise from the difficult role of an attorney and the emotions involved, often these disputes can be avoided where you give careful consideration to your choice of attorneys.

  • How to choose an attorney

Your attorney will be your voice if you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself.  Therefore, choose attorneys whom you trust, who listen to you and would make the decisions you would make, even if they disagree.

Your attorney must be strong enough to advocate for your decisions if others disagree but diplomatic enough to persuade others to your point of view if there is a disagreement.  This can be a difficult path to tread at what can be an emotional time.

Do not choose an attorney simply because he or she is the eldest child or has the loudest voice and be careful choosing an attorney simply because you rely upon that person, as this can make things difficult for you in the future.

  • What skills you should look for in a financial (continuing) attorney

Your financial (or continuing) attorney will be looking after your money, property and financial affairs.  Therefore, they will need to be well organised, confident with finances and dealing with financial institutions.

You should discuss your finances with your attorney in advance and, if possible, provide a record of all of your accounts and property.

  • What skills you should look for in a welfare attorney

Your welfare attorney may be asked to make decisions about where you live, your daily routine, personal care and medical treatment.  Therefore, they will also need to be well organised but more importantly will need to understand what you would like and be confident in making what could be difficult decisions.  They should be able to deal with care and medical staff in what may be challenging circumstances.

It is very important you speak to your welfare attorney in detail about your wishes and let your attorney know if you have made a living will or advance directive.  You may even wish to put your thoughts into a letter to your attorney.

When you have decided who is to be your attorney or attorneys, it is very important you speak with family and friends to let them know who your attorneys are to be, why you have chosen the attorneys and what your wishes are.  Whilst this can be a very difficult conversation, it may avoid conflict and arguments in the future.

In the event you cannot identify suitable attorneys or you think being an attorney is too great a responsibility for family and friends, we can act as your attorney.

Our Private Client teams in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth are experts in planning for elderly care and understand that it can be a challenging and emotional process.  We can provide thoughtful advice and help you navigate the challenges and explore all options, to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

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