Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / Can I appoint a lawyer to act as a deputy, attorney or executor?
Katherine Head

Later Life Team Assistant - Brighton & Hove

Can I appoint a lawyer to act as a deputy, attorney or executor?

The roles of deputy, attorney and executor are very important and come with responsibility. Whether it is an appointment under a Deputyship Order, a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney or a Will, managing the financial affairs on behalf of another person requires confidence, integrity and an understanding of the donor’s or testator’s wishes and opinions.

Many people find it difficult to appoint someone to assist them with their finances, either before or after death. Some are concerned about putting a burden on a spouse or civil partner who may not have experience in managing financial assets. Some may not wish to upset friends or family who are not chosen to help. Some people simply do not have family or friends from which to choose an attorney or executor.

However, there are options if you do not want to appoint a friend or family member as an attorney or executor, or if someone you know does not have friends or family who can be appointed as a deputy.

Don’t avoid the issue!

The risk of your estate being distributed in a way you would not have wished because you have not made a Will is a real possibility. Alternatively, a family member whom you do not trust may be appointed as your deputy, if your feelings are not made known or alternative arrangements are not made. Burying one’s head in the sand can have far reaching consequences in these circumstances.

A popular alternative could instead be to appoint a professional to act as your attorney or executor, or to be appointed as someone’s deputy.

Appointing a lawyer as a deputy, executor, or power of attorney

There can be many advantages of appointing a professional, such as a lawyer, as your representative.

Firstly, lawyers who act in these kinds of roles are often appointed by a number of clients in this way, so they will have a huge wealth of experience in managing a client’s finances, paying bills and ensuring assets are used in your best interests.

Such lawyers will also have a lengthy list of trusted professionals to advise them on matters they do not deal with every day. For example, most lawyers are not able to give financial advice, but will certainly know an independent financial advisor who will be able to assist with monetary questions and investments. Lawyers who are acting as executors will also be able to call upon trusted accountants to assist where necessary, and may be able to locate lost beneficiaries by the use of a known and trusted tracing agent.

The legal profession is highly regulated, and you can therefore trust that whatever actions they take, they will be monitored not only by the firm’s internal supervisions and legal auditors, but, if appointed as a deputy, also by the Office of the Public Guardian who require annual accounts to be submitted, and who carry out regular monitoring visits to ensure that the deputy is carrying out their role with care and integrity.

Does it cost money to appoint a lawyer as a deputy, executor, or power of attorney?

It is also important to bear in mind that a professional appointed in any of these roles is entitled to charge for their time for the work they undertake. Often lawyers charge for this at their standard hourly rate, or in the case of deputies, a rate approved by the Court of Protection. However, most lawyers will delegate some work to experienced supporting team members, who are able to assist at a lower chargeable rate, to make sure that the work undertaken is as cost-effective as possible for the client.

Are there any limitations to appointing a lawyer?

Lawyers will often not be able to act as health and welfare attorneys, due to the very personal nature of this role. The need to be on call 24/7 and to make difficult medical decisions may not be suitable given the nature of the appointment, though some other professionals, such as independent social workers, may be willing to assist.

Rix & Kay’s lawyers assist many clients by acting as professional financial attorneys and deputies on a day to day basis to ensure that their finances are running smoothly. Rix & Kay also have a dedicated Probate Team who regularly assist our professionally appointed executors (as well as lay executors) with administering estates. Meanwhile, our Wills & Estate Planning Team can advise on whether it would be beneficial to appoint a professional executor within your Will.

Contact us

Please contact Katherine Head in the Later Life Team on e. katherinehead@rixandkay.co.uk or t. 01825 744434 or reach out to Helen Cottington in our Wills & Estate Planning Team on e. helencottington@rixandkay.co.uk or t. 01825 744428  to discuss appointing a lawyer deputy, attorney or executor for yoursmailto:mailto:katherinehead@rixandkay.co.ukelf or a loved one.