The importance of Lasting Powers of Attorneyadam
The recent Tonight programme which focused on elderly theft saw more than 2,000 over 50s interviewed – more than three quarters revealed they had not made any formal legal plans about their finances or welfare.
Some of the reasons stated were that they did not like to think too far ahead and they accepted it was something they kept “putting off” – click here www.itv.com/hub/tonight/1a2803a1083 to view the programme.
A large part of the narrative in the programme was around about a vital document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a document which allows you to appoint chosen people to act on your behalf in the event that you can no longer manage to handle your affairs alone. You can only make an LPA while you have mental capacity.
There are two types; one which deals with property and financial affairs and the other your health and welfare – critical is that any LPAs you complete can only be used once they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
When making a Lasting Power of Attorney you choose who you would like to look after your affairs, known as your Attorneys. If you do not have anyone that you think would be able to manage your affairs, you are able to appoint a solicitor.
Sadly, the programme highlighted cases of fraud. An interview with Caroline Bielanksa, the former chief executive and chair of Solicitors for the Elderly, focused on the safeguards people can put in place to ensure their Lasting Power of Attorney is robust – she stressed the importance of using a specialist solicitor.
You can place restrictions and conditions in the documents for your attorneys to follow, however a poorly-worded restriction or condition can prevent the attorneys from assisting you when needed.
For all these reasons and more, you really should seek legal advice before entering into a Lasting Power of Attorney – at Pepperells we can discuss all the possibilities with you.