What is an attorney & how do I choose one?

If you’re a fan of American movie and tv drama you might associate the word “attorney” with lawyer (Elle Woods? Saul Goodman? Marshall Eriksen?). When we refer to an attorney we actually mean the person or people you appoint to make decisions on your behalf once you have lost capacity to make those decisions for yourself.

Think of someone stepping into your shoes and making decisions for you. This might be personal and health care decisions, like where you live and who you spend time with, and/or financial decisions, such as selling your house or investing your money. An attorney is an incredibly important role as their decisions have the potential to greatly impact your quality of life and value of your assets.

So how do you find the best person to appoint as your attorney? You need to ask yourself whether you trust that the person will:
• act in your best interests and in doing so put your rights and needs first when making decisions on your behalf?
• respect your wishes, values, and preferences?
• understand their legal obligations and duties as an attorney?
• be available to make decisions on your behalf?

Additionally, for personal attorneys to:
• be confident in discussing your care with your health care providers;
• make medical decisions under pressure; and
• if appropriate, consult family members and follow their wishes.

Additionally, for financial attorneys to:
• make sound financial decisions and able to manage property and money well;
• seek external advice when needed and be confident liaising with financial institutions, financial professionals, lawyers, and property agents as appropriate in the circumstances; and
• communicate effectively and protect and promote your financial interests.

Our FREE ‘The Complete Estate Plan Guidebook’ is available for instant download over at the Resources tab and includes further info and considerations on appointing an attorney. If you’re ready to discuss attorneys and your estate plan please contact us – we’re ready and waiting to help you.


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