An LPA should never be taken lightly
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that the number of investigations into the dubious or ill-judged actions of appointed attorneys and deputies has risen by almost half (45 per cent) in the past year.
According to the data, the number of people registering Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) has risen significantly in recent years, as more and more people continue to realise that, as life expectancy increases, so do the chances of losing mental capacity in old age.
In most cases, those setting up an LPA will usually appoint either a family member or close friend. However, such decisions should not be taken lightly, as appointing someone to take care of your financial well-being, savings or property is a very serious decision to make.
The figures gleaned from the FoI request sadly suggest that many Britons are not taking LPAs particularly seriously – and are often appointing attorneys who are inexperienced and ill-equipped for the job, which can later prove to have drastic results.
When this happens, complex and stressful investigations into attorneys and deputies often need to be launched – 1,647 of which were opened into attorneys last year alone.
During the same period, 82 investigations were opened into deputies, the FoI request reveals.
A recent report in City A.M shines a light on the anonymous case of a son-in-law who had been appointed to act as an attorney on behalf of an elderly woman.
The man in question gifted £324,000 of her money to his wife, who was the elderly woman’s daughter. He claimed that this decision had been made for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes, however, a Judge later found that this gift amount was too large, as the elderly woman’s estates totalled more than £1 million.
Following the ruling, the daughter was ordered to restore some of the money.
In light of cases such as the above, experts are trying to warn British families to take greater care when setting up an LPA.
While these documents can be set-up relatively quickly and easily elsewhere, it is always wise to seek the advice of a specialist solicitor who can guide you through the process. Such professionals are also well-placed to advise on the intricacies of Wills, IHT and other matters.