Lasting Powers of Attorney: are they the right thing to do? Yes - say Buckles

Thursday 14 September 2017

It is estimated only around a third of the adult population have a Will – and even less have made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to deal with important lifetime decisions, say Buckles Solicitors LLP.

The debate surrounding LPAs has been re-ignited, with retired senior Judge in the Court of Protection – Denzil Lush – recently criticising the system of Lasting Powers of Attorney claiming they can have a devastating effect on family relationships, and its lack of transparency causes suspicion and concern.

An LPA is a legal document in which the person making it chooses someone they trust (the Attorney) to make decisions on their behalf.

LPAs can be made for financial decisions (Property & Financial Affairs) and / or medical and care decisions (Health & Welfare).

Buckles Solicitors LLP partner and head of private client, Stephen Duffy, said: “The vast majority of the millions of registered LPAs are used in the best interests of those who have signed them.

“Unfortunately, there are times when people who have lost mental capacity fall victim to financial abuse. At Buckles, we have experience in dealing with this type of situation, and will often need to make applications to the Court of Protection.

“Denzil Lush was used to seeing these types of application in his senior position at the Court of Protection, and so his views are perhaps tainted by being ‘war-weary’ when all he has seen in his career are matters where LPAs have been abused.”

He added: “Many people assume that their spouse, civil partner or close relatives will be able to deal with their finances and make medical and care decisions for them in the event of incapacity just by virtue of being ‘next of kin’ but this is simply not the case.

“An LPA will ensure that someone, chosen by you, can deal with your property and financial affairs – or even make health and welfare decisions on your behalf – in the event that it were ever necessary or beneficial for them to do so.”

Stephen said: “We cannot stress enough the importance of having a Will and LPA created by a solicitor. When people are fit and healthy they often don’t want to think about writing a Will or making an LPA and what will happen on death or incapacity.

“However, making a Will and LPA is the perfect opportunity to get something in place for when it is needed. It will give peace of mind to you and your loved ones.”

The Private Client department of Buckles advises on and prepares LPAs, and also offers a free legal documents review service to help ensure that any LPAs that are in place are valid and practical.

Forthcoming Events