After Thursday’s ITV programme “Elderly Theft: Robbing the Relatives” Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) have once again been put under public scrutiny.
In their simplest form an LPA allows somebody chosen by you to make decisions with regard to your financial affairs under the LPA for Property and Financial Affairs and personal issues under the LPA for Health and Welfare. Both are incredibly powerful documents and put somebody in your shoes who can do absolutely anything you can do yourself. In simple terms if you pick the wrong person and include few or no checks and balances you can be seriously taken advantage of.
The programme last night shone a light on some quite shocking and heart wrenching financial abuse of vulnerable people by people some of whom were attorneys under an LPA. All of the abuse highlighted was sadly by close family members or friends.
The positives of LPAs however can easily outweigh the negatives if things are approached properly and with good advice from a Solicitor and these are set out below-
- You are in control and it is up to you and nobody else who you want to have as your attorneys. We will see you alone so that we can have a full discussion with you away from anyone else as to what your instructions are.
- Choose your attorneys wisely; if they have any sort of checkered past financially they may not be the best people to act on your behalf even if they are your closest family
- If you cannot choose an attorney a Solicitor can be appointed in a professional capacity.
- You can tailor your LPA in so far as you can put in clauses to prevent people doing certain things or at the very least you can give some guidance as to how you would like your LPA to be used which could deter an attorney from going against your wishes
- Appoint more than one attorney – they can keep one another in check and there are several ways to structure how your attorneys act if you have any concerns and we can discuss these options with you.
- Whilst you can do your LPA yourself using the online tools and LPA kits the advice of an expert Solicitor can be invaluable and the fees are not extraordinary.
- If you do not make an LPA and lose capacity there will be a need for someone to make an application to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy. An application to the court will be lengthy, costly and very frustrating for the family. It can also create an ongoing relationship between the Deputy and The Court which can be burdensome and time consuming.
Therefore to ensure that you get your LPA planning right, contact a member of our team, and we will be able to guide you through the process seamlessly and without undue complication. More information about LPA ‘s can be found on the GOV.UK website.