Lasting Powers of Attorney – a powerful tool
Powers of attorney have recently been in the news again when the recently retired senior Judge Denzil Lush spoke out about the risks associated with Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Denzil Lush spoke on Radio 4 regarding his concerns about the problems that sometimes arise with Powers of Attorney. He stated he preferred the Court of Protection route where a Court Order is issued to appoint a Deputy who can manage your financial affairs on your behalf because the court can supervise the Deputy and there is also a surety bond in place which can be called upon if there is financial wrongdoing.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document you can make to give your Attorneys permission and your authority to act on your behalf if you lack understanding to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of Powers to make; one relating to your financial affairs and the second relating to your medical and day to day decisions. Both Powers are required to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and once the financial affairs Power is registered your Attorneys can assist you if you require help even if you haven’t lost capacity. Simply put you could be fed up or wish to have help because you are becoming physically frailer to manage your affairs. However, a Health & Welfare Power can only be used to make decisions on your behalf once you cannot make these types of medical and day to day living decisions for yourselves.
We complete and register lots of Lasting Powers of Attorney and it is only in the very rare occasions that problems can arise as there is no one to supervise the Attorney’s actions. Our advice is that you always appoint those people that you trust to manage your affairs on your behalf.
We explain to all our clients that Attorneys are not permitted under the law to make gifts other than birthday and Christmas and other customary occasions to anyone on behalf of the person making the Power, even if they can say that person would have made those gifts as it is simply not permitted under the law. Attorneys are not allowed to make loans on behalf of the person making the Power. Any such transactions do need to be authorised by the Court of Protection by a Court Order.
It is always best to seek independent legal advice and if you have any questions or wish to ask a member of our Private Client Team about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01707 329333. Our advice would be still to make a Lasting Power of Attorney and choose very wisely who you appoint as your Attorneys.