Attorneys and gifts

Posted: 18th April 2012

A commonly asked question by the holder of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is whether the attorney has the right to make gifts on behalf of the person whose power of attorney he or she holds.
In practice, the document setting up the power (EPAs have not been available for several years, but existing EPAs are still valid) will normally allow such gifts to be made by the attorney. An attorney can act under an EPA without taking any special steps. Under an LPA, the power must be registered before it can be acted upon.
The right to make gifts is, however, limited and normally restricted to appropriate birthday etc. gifts and donations to charities that are appropriate in the context of the value of the assets as a whole. In each case, the overriding issue is whether or not the gift can be considered to benefit the person who has appointed the attorney.
Where a larger gift is anticipated, an application for permission should be made to the Court of Protection.
If you are concerned about your rights and responsibilities as an attorney for someone else, we will be pleased to advise you.