Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s)
August 2017 No: 1
The former Senior Master of the Court of Protection, Judge Denzil Lush, has surprised many by speaking of his concerns about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s). They worry him so much that he has declared that he would not make one himself. Instead he would prefer to rely on a court appointed deputy to manage his affairs.
We think that, on the face of it, this flies in the face of all expert advice because relying on the court to deal with problems when someone loses the capacity to manage their own affairs is very expensive. Worse than that, the court is seriously under-resourced in these austere times and there can be enormous delays before decisions are made. Until the court gets round to giving a deputy the authority to manage money and property, a family may find itself struggling to meet bills from their own resources. If a house has to be sold, buyers can be lost if no one is ready to sign the forms.
The Mental Capacity Act recognises that there is no “black and white” when it comes to issues of capacity. Without an LPA in place, what does a person in the grey area do until they are incapacitated enough for a deputy? Surely people without anyone assisting them are also open to financial abuse.
However, the concerns of the judge seem to be over the unsuitability of people being named as attorneys in LPA’s. There have been cases of money being wasted or even stolen. However, there is an alternative and we always advise our clients to choose their attorney with great care. To this end, many of our clients appoint us as their attorney. A professional who is covered by compulsory insurance, specialises in this area and has a good reputation to maintain provides reassurance that decisions in the best interests of the person concerned will be made safely and securely.
Solicitors for the Elderly is a major supporter of LPAs and advises that “completing an LPA in advance is the only way to ensure your feelings, wishes, and beliefs in life are heard, in the event you become incapacitated”
For further information about making an LPA, please contact Kirsten Bradley on 01772 881000.