With dementia continuing to rise, the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) cannot be overstated. An LPA can be a vital tool, giving a friend, loved one or solicitor the power to make decisions on your behalf should you reach a position where you are unable to.
Safeguards are built into them to ensure they are used appropriately, but there are steps you can take to ensure things do not go wrong.
Choose the right attorney
If you want to prevent any future issues with an LPA, then choosing the right attorney at the outset is crucial. There are many duties involved in acting as an attorney for someone, so you need to pick someone responsible and organised, as well as someone who knows you well and can be trusted to act in your best interests.
You may want to select more than one attorney – this will make abuse of the powers associated with an LPA much harder.
If you do choose more than one attorney, you can set out whether they need to act together or separately for certain issues.
Informing loved ones
One important safeguard is the fact that the ‘donor’ (the person handing over their powers to their attorney) can name up to five people who must be informed before the LPA is registered. It’s important to do this – these loved ones can then step in and dispute the registration, should they believe that the donor was put under undue pressure or the attorney is set to behave in an inappropriate way
It’s a good idea to speak to your friends and loved ones who aren’t named on the document in advance of organising an LPA too. You can explain why you are doing it and how you want the powers to be used – this can help reduce the chances of fraud and should also reduce the chances of conflict between family members later on.
Another safeguard is the ability for donors to have certain guidance for the attorney written into the LPA. For example, this may suggest that they meet a couple of times a year to go through bank details and discuss financial arrangements for the next six months. This should also make it harder for any fraud to take place.
Organising an LPA can give you peace of mind that you will have someone you trust making decisions for you, should you lose the ability to do so.
Choosing the right attorney, and getting the right LPA in place, can take some time, but it is time well spent.
If you’re struggling to choose an LPA or would like advice on how to appoint one, feel free to get in touch with us at Finance North Estate Planning Services on one of the numbers below.
Cheshire Office: 0161 771 2056 or Staffordshire Office: 01782 963 303
Or simply complete you details below and one of our consultants will call you back.
Finance North Estate Planning Services
Pole Farm Cottage, Pole Lane, Antrobus, Cheshire, CW9 6NN
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD