LPAs – Have you chosen the right people to protect you?

4 November 2020

Have you considered who would manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf, if you have an illness or accident that leaves you incapable of looking after things yourself?

Would you be protected from financial abuse? 

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint someone you trust to look after your financial affairs or your health and welfare, with minimum effort, delay or expense. The person or persons you choose to appoint are called your Attorneys and the LPA gives them the Power to act on your behalf enabling them to manage your affairs. 

The process has become more accessible to the general public since an online system was introduced a number of years ago, this has encouraged many more people to prepare an LPA. Applications have risen and over 800,000 registrations were made in the year to April 2019 alone. However, while easier to make, they are also easy to abuse, if safeguards are not put in place. 

Unfortunately, this is demonstrated by reports of a significant increase in the number of investigations into the actions of attorneys appointed under LPAs. The Office of the Public Guardian recorded a 54% increase in investigations into wrongdoing by attorneys in 2018/2019.  

The Citizens Advice Bureau also reports that the Police are recording these incidents as hate crimes based on age. In addition, the Crown Prosecution Service has also set its own guidance for Crimes Against Older People, and they suggest that the courts increase sentences for offences against the elderly.

Specialist legal publishers Lexis Nexis have provided guidance to solicitors on the topic of financial abuse of the elderly in the latest edition of Family Law. Their experts have emphasized the importance of safeguarding issues being addressed with clients. It is vital that clients receive the correct advice when preparing their Lasting Powers of Attorney.   

While the DIY option makes the process more accessible, professional guidance can make the difference in ensuring that adequate safeguarding measures are in place, to help avoid mistakes or in the worst case, abuse.

An LPA is a valuable tool, but the right safeguards must be in place and everyone needs to understand their responsibilities. The advice of a trusted specialist solicitor can provide protection and peace of mind for you and your family. 

Our Wills, Trusts & Estates team are experts in preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney and can guide you through the whole process. For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact a member of the Wills, Trusts & Estates Department at Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.