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The risks of Lasting Powers of Attorney…?
You may have seen in the news recently that Denzil Lush, retired judge of the Court of Protection, has warned of the dangers of putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPAs’). He expressed his concerns about the ability of LPA attorneys to take steps on behalf of another person without ongoing supervision by the court.
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you (the ‘donor’) to appoint others (‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf, either with your consent or only when you do not have capacity to manage your own affairs. Two types of LPAs are available: one for property and financial affairs and the other for health and welfare decisions.
If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA in place, someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy. The Court of Protection requires deputies to submit an annual report to them about their decisions made during that year and, before the deputy begins to act in their role, asks for a ‘surety bond’ to be put in place, to safeguard assets in case of mismanagement of their funds. On the other hand, though, the court route involves much time and expense.
But are LPAs now too risky to use?
It is, indeed, a sad truth that instances of investigation of and financial abuse by attorneys appears to have risen by 50% in the last few years. Numerous cases have hit the headlines recently on this subject but, equally, with deputies as well as attorneys.
The bottom line is that there can be no iron-clad guarantee either way. Putting an LPA in place at least allows you the power of choice, but it is still all-important to appoint those your trust, such as family, friends or professionals, to act as your attorneys.
If you need any assistance regarding this matter, please speak with our team of Wills & Probate Solicitors