Lasting Powers of Attorney – take advice before making one
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for your property and affairs would allow you to appoint attorneys to make a range of decisions including the buying and selling of your house and other assets and operating bank and building society accounts.
It is a very powerful document.
Anyone who watched ITV's Elderly Theft Robbing the Relatives on Thursday 30th November 2017 could be forgiven for feeling very wary about making a lasting power of attorney.
The documentary highlighted the financial abuse of elderly people.
According to the programme there have been 116,559 suspected elderly fraud crimes in the last three years with criminals cruelly targeting those over the age 65.
What was really shocking, however, is that the figures show that an increasing number of thieves are relatives.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) have also received other bad press recently.
In an article in The Times (paywall!)retiring Judge Denzil Lush criticised the system to being open to abuse and even went as far as to say he would not make one himself.
As ITV‚Äôs programme and these articles highlight, the advice that is always given which is to make sure that your Attorney is someone you trust implicitly is not necessarily enough.
The job of attorney is a serious responsibility and, as we can see this responsibility can be abused.
Did you know however that it is possible to limit the powers that your attorneys have?
You can place in the documents restrictions on what your attorneys can do. These can be quite complicated to draft correctly but can provide powerful protection against abuse.
A professionally well drafted LPA, with proper restrictions, properly explained to the Donor and the Attorney is extremely useful.
The power of these documents however, should not be underestimated. It is really important that you do not draw one up or be persuaded to sign one without taking proper independent advice.
Do not be put off making a LPA. Just make sure you take the right advice.
This literature is intended purely as an overview of this topic and does not constitute legal advice.