When you look to the future, what do you see? Nobody likes to think that they may one day lack the ability to look after themselves. The sad fact is this can happen to anyone, at any time, as the result of an accident or illness. This makes Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) an extremely useful tool, as they help you to ensure that both your welfare and assets are looked after in the way you would wish.
SETTING UP A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
LPAs are legally binding documents, which assign one or more trusted people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. These trusted people are called Attorneys.
The person granting an LPA is called the Donor. If you are the Donor, you can set up one or both of the following LPA’s:
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney: gives a person the power to make decisions about your day to day welfare such as washing, dressing and eating, housing and medical care.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney: grants a person the power to make decisions about your assets such as managing your bank account, paying bills, collecting state benefits and pensions on your behalf and selling your home if necessary.
These documents are very important as they will safeguard your assets from predatory third parties if you find yourself in a vulnerable situation. It is a complex area of law and we would always recommend that legal advice is taken before executing LPA’s.
We also assist Business Owners and Investors to prepare detailed Business Lasting Powers of Attorney. A Business LPA deals with business assets only and should appoint an Attorney with the requisite qualifications and abilities to manage your business. You can read more about Business LPAs here: Business Lasting Power of Attorney.
Who can be an Attorney?
An Attorney can be any adult person that you trust. Some people will nominate a professional attorney, but this is not always necessary. It can be appropriate for family members to act as your attorney, in which case we can provide useful guidance to explain their duties and what they can and cannot do with these powers. If there is no suitable person, we can provide an attorney service.
What does it mean to be an Attorney?
Acting as an Attorney (the person tasked with managing the assets and/or welfare of the Donor) is a great responsibility. It allows a person to manage your finances, your health and welfare if you are unable to do so.
What happens if there is not a Lasting Power of Attorney?
In this situation, your relatives may need to apply to the Court for a Deputyship Order, which will give them the power to make decisions on your behalf. This can be costly and time consuming. As well as providing extra stress to your family at what will already be a difficult time, you might find that the person looking after your affairs is not the person you would choose yourself.
CHALLENGING A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
What if I have concerns about my chosen Attorney?
If you are a Donor and have concerns about one of your attorneys, you can revoke their appointment and appoint someone else.
What if I have concerns about somebody else’s Attorney?
By the time the Attorney takes up their role, it is unlikely the Donor will be able to keep tabs on what they are doing. Unfortunately, vulnerable people are often be taken advantage of. The legislation and guidance are very clear that whatever an Attorney does, it must be in the ‘best interests’ of the Donor.
If you believe that an Attorney is not acting in the best interests of the Donor, we can assist you with:
- Court applications in seeking guidance
- Court applications to object to an Attorney’s action(s)
- Removal of Attorneys acting beyond the scope of their power.
To arrange an initial discussion about establishing or challenging a Lasting Power of Attorney, please call 020 7667 2936 or complete the contact form.
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