Making a lasting power of attorney – what to consider
An introduction to LPAs
A lasting power of attorney, or LPA, is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person, or persons, to make decisions regarding health and welfare and property and financial matters on your behalf once you no longer have capacity to make those decisions yourself.
In order to make a lasting power of attorney you must be aged 18 or over and have the mental capacity to appoint an attorney to manage your affairs on your behalf.
The Office of the Public Guardian has automated the LPA process by making it possible for individuals to create one online. However, there are a number of situations which cannot be covered using an online tool and where you would benefit from the advice of an experienced specialist professional. Here are some examples:
The identity of your attorneys:
It is easy for a couple to assume that the best people to act as their attorneys are their children. However, this is not always the case. Occasionally children have a sense of entitlement towards their parents’ assets which can cause conflicts of interest to arise when attempting to make decisions in your best interests. If there is any kind of dissention between your children, this can also lead to problems preventing effective management of your assets. One of our specialist solicitors can discuss with you the best attorneys for you to appoint.
Preventing financial abuse
Age UK estimates that 1-2% of adults in the UK aged over 65 have been the victims of financial abuse, and losing mental capacity makes an individual more at risk. We can discuss with you building safeguards into the LPA to lessen the risk of abuse occurring.
Management of your investments
If your investments are managed for you on a discretionary basis, or you may own investments in the future following the sale of the family home, particular provision should be made in the LPA to ensure that these arrangements can continue. We can guide you on this aspect and the provisions you might wish to include if you have any unusual assets.
Continued financial assistance for people you feel obliged to maintain:
Perhaps you are making regular payments to an aged parent or to an adult child for their continuing education. There are strict rules governing what gifts can be made by an attorney, but such payments may not be classified as gifts. If you state in the LPA that you wish such payments to be continued there is more likelihood that this can happen. It is essential, however, that such wishes are expressed in the correct way and we can help you with this.
Letters of wishes:
It can be very helpful to set out your wishes as to how certain matters should be dealt with, in a separate document. This can include details such as your likes and dislikes and how you like to live. For example, you could nominate a particular care home should you need to move into long term care We can help guide you on the points that you might like to cover.
Contact a lasting power of attorney specialist
The above are examples of complexities that can arise when considering drawing up an LPA and are not intended to be an exhaustive list. For expert advice and personal, bespoke service when dealing with this important document call our specialist solicitors on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.
We have solicitors serving clients across the country from our offices in London, Southampton, Manchester, Cardiff, Taunton, Birmingham and Bristol.
More general information regarding lasting power of attorney can be found on GOV.UK; and detailed information regarding preparation and registration of a lasting power of attorney is provided by the Office of the Public Guardian.