Our Quick Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney

We’ve produced a new quick Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney .

Making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is an important step in taking control of your future provided the right choices are made.

Although the benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney are considerable, unfortunately, things can sometimes go wrong.

The root of the problem is often that the Lasting Power of Attorney was set up without enough thought being given to the important choices that are involved in giving someone power of attorney. All too often Lasting Powers of Attorney are viewed as “just another form” to fill in.

Understanding is key to safeguarding your future

It is vital to consider carefully who to appoint to have power of attorney over your personal and financial affairs and what the extent of their authority should be.

Being aware of the potential difficulties that making the wrong choices could cause, plays a big part in being able to make the right choices and avoid future problems.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are sometimes used incorrectly by the appointed attorneys for example, to deliberately commit financial abuse of elderly and vulnerable people. Fortunately, that only happens in a minority of cases.

It is more common to find that the attorneys have insufficient powers to enable them to do what is needed or they have difficulty in separating their own views and wishes from their obligation to act in the best interests of the person they are acting for.

It is essential for the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney to set it up correctly, from the start. An LPA might look like a form but it is in fact a binding legal document. Advice and preparation are key to getting it right for you.

Problems can be caused if the Donor of the LPA:-

  • confuses joint authority with joint and several authority;
  • includes conflicting restrictions to limit the attorneys’ authority;
  • fails to include appropriate guidance for the attorneys;
  • appoints a relative to be attorney regardless of suitability;
  • mis-understands the role of replacement attorneys.

Lasting Powers of Attorney can offer a successful way to stay at the heart of decision-making about our own lives if we lose mental capacity, as well as enabling the people we choose to help and support us to have the legal authorisation they need.

One of the biggest challenges for us all in the coming years will be working out how we as individuals can make sure we get the care and support we will need in later life.

If we should become unable to make decisions about our property and finances or our health and welfare, then it is vital that we have help from people who know and understand us and can be relied on to carry out their decision-making duties properly.

Take the first step – Get our new Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney here