Q.Why Should I Have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
This is a very common question…
Our Lead Solicitor replies:
‘Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) which allow someone to make financial or welfare decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so, are vital documents. Where there is a trustworthy relationship they can really work.
‘If you lose capacity, and you do not have an LPA (or an Enduring Power of Attorney) in place, someone will need to obtain a Court of Protection Order (COPO) to be appointed as your “Deputy” (the Court of Protection’s version of an attorney). A Deputy could be a family member or if there is a dispute, a person with no family connections to the donor.
‘The deputy can only do what they have applied for under the COPO and may need to apply to court again for other decisions, so the process is a lot more rigid than for LPA’s and takes longer for decisions to be reached.
‘The COPO is also more costly. When it is in force, you need to pay an insurance bond each year and report to the Court of Protection by filing accounts. There are charges for this.
‘It may work in some situations but it adds stress and burden on the Deputy and may put some people off from acting altogether.’
While an LPA is preferable for the above reasons, LPAs which appoint inappropriate attorneys can lead to a donor’s funds being misused. To help avoid the impact which such misuse can have on families, and to be fully aware of what is involved, our lead solicitor has highlighted where a solicitor can really help:
Although LPAs can be created without one, a solicitor can fully explain the pros and cons and what an LPA means for the donor.
They can make sure that the donor has capacity and that there is no undue influence in appointing their attorneys.
Solicitors are a good sounding board when the client is deciding on who is appointed and how they can act.
Solicitors can even add an extra safeguard by storing the LPA until needed as it is a live document once registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
Solicitors can be appointed as attorneys too, in more complex situations.
If you would like to discuss LPAs further, call our experts on 0191 466 1444