You can appoint one or two persons (‘donee’) to manage your Personal Welfare or your Property and Affairs or both. How do you choose who to be your donee?
There’s nothing wrong with having only one donee. That one person can be appointed just to manage your Property and Affairs or to manage your Personal Welfare or to do both. If you appoint just one donee it’s always best to appoint a replacement donee in case the person you appoint as donee isn’t able to do the job.
If you’re married and wish to appoint only one donee then you should think about appointing your spouse as the donee. This can be either for Personal Welfare or for Property and Affairs or if you’re appointing one donee for both.
If for some reason your spouse can’t be your donee you should consider appointing an adult child to be your donee. If you’re going to appoint a child as donee and you have more than one child, you should exercise some care in your choice.
With Personal Welfare you should choose the adult child who is best able to manage difficult situations. He/she should be able to make hard and difficult decisions.
If you choose to tick the box on page H5 of the LPA Form 1 that allows your donee to ‘refuse consent to start or continue your treatments’ it’s even more important you choose the right person. Refusing to continue treatment could mean ending your life.
Do not choose to give powers of Personal Welfare by LPA to a child or someone with a tendency to be highly emotional or emotionally unstable. Someone with a medical or healthcare background would likely be a good choice to make decisions about your Personal Welfare.
A bankrupt cannot be appointed as a donee with Property and Affairs powers. A bankrupt can be given Personal Welfare powers as no money is involved.
Besides bankrupts don’t appoint anyone with an addiction – gambling, drugs, alcohol, or substance abuse. Don’t make the mistake of thinking ‘he will change’. If you lose mental capacity, you can’t take that chance that you might be wrong.
Ideally you should be choosing someone who can be trusted with money and is good at managing it.
You don’t need a donee who is going to go off and invest in the latest new investment. You want a donee who is conservative in managing money perhaps to the point of being dull. So, what if your donee isn’t able to get you the 20% annual return a neighbour mentioned? If you lose mental capacity, you’ll need your finances to last for the rest of your life and it doesn’t matter if the beneficiaries of your Will aren’t going to get as much as they want.
With Personal Welfare LPA Form 1 says that if you choose to appoint 2 donees jointly and they are ‘unable to agree on a particular issue then both donees cannot act on your behalf for that issue’.
If you’re appointing 2 donees with Personal Welfare DO NOT choose to have them act jointly. Otherwise, if your donees can’t agree on whether you should be operated on the doctors would be stopped from operating.
For this reason, in some countries like Australia there can only be one person given Medical Powers of Attorney at any one time.
Even if 2 donees are to act jointly and severally for Personal Welfare matters the problem remains – if donees disagree no decision can be made.
With Property and Affairs powers, it’s more a practical problem that needs consideration. If 2 donees are to act jointly then one donee can’t act if the other goes on an overseas holiday.
If choosing two persons to be your donees choose those who can work together without fighting. If there’s a risk of disagreement between your chosen donees, you’re better off making one a donee and the other a replacement donee. It’s may not be ideal but it’s better than choosing both as donees together and having them fight. If that happens nothing can be done for you.