Families urged to seek specialist advice when considering LPAs
Specialist advice is always crucial when setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA), recent reports in the press have highlighted.
Towards the end of 2017, retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush issued a public warning regarding LPAs, urging British families to tread carefully when arranging for another person to begin handling the financial affairs of a loved one who has lost the capacity to manage such matters themselves.
Mr Lush pointed towards a number of cases which had made headlines throughout the year, involving untrustworthy neighbours and other individuals abusing their powers for financial gain.
Such instances highlight the importance of choosing very carefully who gets to be an Attorney – and of discussing such decisions at length with the wider family and with specialist legal advisers.
An LPA is a very powerful and oftentimes crucial legal document, as it can enable trusted individuals to make important decisions about the care and finances of a loved one who has lost mental capacity.
However, in order for the safeguards offered by an LPA to be effective, such documents need to be set up responsibly and discussed thoroughly.
It is important to plan ahead in advance and think of all eventualities.
In some instances, it might be worth considering appointing a professional as an Attorney, such as a solicitor, if it is felt that this might be more appropriate than appointing a friend or family member.
Solicitors are able to act as a neutral third party in such matters, enabling them to make unbiased decisions where necessary.