Who Should you Choose?-Top Ten Traits of a Good Attorney

Who Should you Choose?-Top Ten Traits of a Good Attorney

When making a Power of Attorney, you need to think carefully about who you appoint to act for you. This is a crucial decision, as the individual(s) you appoint will have significant legal authority and responsibility over important aspects of your life.
There are many qualities which are vital when selecting an Attorney, but the top ten are:

1. Trustworthiness

Your attorney must be someone you trust implicitly and who will always act with integrity, honesty and care when dealing with your affairs. If you are appointing an attorney in relation to your health and welfare you will also need to be able to confide in your attorney what your wishes are in relation to them potentially having to make life choices about where you live, how your care is provided and whether treatment is agreed or refused if you are unable to make your own decisions.

2. Responsibility

Your attorney will need to be organised as they will be managing your financial affairs, medical decisions, or other important matters. Your attorney should be capable of managing paperwork, finances, and medical records diligently, and be able to keep on top of administration.

3. Good Communication Skills 

Your attorney will need excellent communication skills. They will need to be able to understand your wishes, communicate effectively with healthcare providers, financial institutions, and other relevant parties, and keep all concerned parties informed. They may need to challenge decisions about healthcare funding and be able to stand up for you if they encounter resistance and pressure.

4. Understanding and Empathy

Your attorney should also understand your values, beliefs, and wishes. Empathy is essential in making decisions that align with your preferences, even in difficult situations.

5. Availability

It is crucial to choose someone who is available and willing to take on the responsibilities of being an attorney. They should be reachable when needed and able to respond promptly to important matters.

6. Legal and Financial Knowledge

Whilst it’s not a requirement to have legal or financial training to be an attorney, having some knowledge in these areas can be beneficial, especially if your attorney needs to navigate complex legal and financial matters on your behalf.

7. Proximity

Although it is not always possible, it can be advantageous to select an attorney who lives near to you, making it easier for them to manage practical matters and deal with emergencies promptly.

8. Ability to Work Well Under Pressure

Life can be unpredictable, and a good attorney should be able to remain composed and make decisions under pressure when required. This may mean they are taking difficult decisions when they may be under emotional strain themselves due to the issues arising.

9. Willingness to Seek Advice

A good attorney knows their limitations and is willing to seek advice or professional help when necessary. They should be open to consulting with experts in specific fields to make informed decisions.

10. Personal Compatibility

It is essential to have a good personal relationship with your chosen attorney. Someone who knows you well and understands your values and wishes is more likely to make decisions that align with your preferences.

These are the top ten qualities your attorney needs to possess, but they are not the only things which need to be considered. You may decide to have more than one person as an attorney and ask two (or more) people to work together in your interests, with each attorney bringing their own personal qualities.

If you do decide to appoint more than one attorney then you can decide how decisions are made, whether jointly or individually.
In short, before making any decision about who to appoint as your attorney, you need to discuss your wishes with your potential attorney, and ensure they are willing to take on the responsibilities involved in acting for you.

Getting the right attorney or attorneys in place when you make the powers means you have ensured your affairs will be looked after if you need assistance either with managing your finances, or your health in the future.

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