Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Dealing with an LPA? They’ve got some bad press recently. Allow us to shed some light on what can be a murky legal area.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
The press has recently been riddled with various horror stories on the topic of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and their misuse. Families torn apart by overriding decisions about a loved one’s final wishes, trust issues, miscarriages of expectations…all caused, we feel, by a solid misunderstanding of the facts. In an effort to enlighten, here’s a few key points that everyone should know about LPA and a little bit about how they can be an important safeguard for you and your family.
What are LPA?
Applications for LPA have soared as the population ages. Almost 771,000 were granted last year, up from 72,000 a decade ago. There are two types of LPA, one covering health and welfare and the other covering property and financial affairs. You can see the full breakdown of both here.
But in a nutshell…
Health And Welfare LPA
Used to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine – washing, dressing, eating etc
- Your medical care
- When to move into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
Property And Financial Affairs Lasting Power Of Attorney
Used to give your attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property. Things like:
- Managing your bank or building society
- Collecting your benefits or pension
- Paying your bills
- Selling your home
It is essential that, when making an LPA, the person making the document understands the authority they are granting to an attorney and what this means. Education is really, really crucial. You can’t know too much on the subject.
Know what you’re signing
If we have doubts over a client’s mental or physical state (eyesight, for example) at the time of making the LPA, then we’ll always obtain a doctor’s letter or, if necessary, the doctor can act as certificate provider. This is particularly important for clients with poor eyesight – if they can’t read the document clearly, they don’t know what they’re signing (always, always know what you’re signing).
LPA were initially designed for those who feel they no longer have the capacity to manage their lives. Additionally, an LPA might be used by those who are abroad and want to authorise someone to look after their affairs for a certain period of time.
Disputes over LPA
In the last decade, there’s definitely been an increase in disputes and cases against attorneys acting under an LPA. If such a situation arises, then the Office of the Public Guardian (the government agency that investigates cases of LPA abuse) always investigate. In fact, a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Family members can be notified when the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, so that someone other than your attorney knows that this document has been registered.
It is, of course, easier now for clients to make applications online in relation to LPAs and there is no requirement to tell others they have done so. It may be for personal reasons, an effort to save the hurt feelings of an expectant family member, for example. Like with most legal matters that concern family matters, LPA can cause all manner of disappointment.
Stay in control
Many are not aware of the far-reaching powers these documents have and what they empower an attorney to do. However, you are able to place restrictions on the power if you wish. An attorney does not have to file annual accounts or reports with the Office of the Public Guardian and their actions are not scrutinised unless someone makes a complaint, by which time thousands of pounds could have been misspent.
The alternative to an LPA is something called a “Deputyship Application”. A “Deputy” is appointed when a person does not have the mental capacity to choose an attorney and is required to prepare accounts and submit a report to the Office of the Public Guardian every year. The Office of the Public Guardian might one day decide that attorneys should do the same. This would naturally incur further administrative responsibilities, but this would perhaps be no bad thing.
If the appropriate notices are given, there is no reason not to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as it could save thousands of pounds in making a Deputyship application. We do advise clients to make these documents as an insurance for the future.
On balance, there are many more advantages to having in place Lasting Powers of Attorney rather than take a “wait and see” approach. Clients will often admit to a sense of reassurance and peace of mind when they have completed LPA and it can save much worry and anxiety for their family.
For more information on this issue, please contact Deborah Adams, Director of Private Client Services at Parnalls Solicitors on 01566 772375 or email email@example.com
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.