Lasting Powers of Attorney – still a good idea?
Denzil Lush, the recently retired senior judge at the Court of Protection told BBC listeners earlier this week that he would never grant anyone a lasting power of attorney (LPA) over his financial affairs, because of the serious risk of abuse.
Lush heard cases in which persons granted an LPA have dishonestly used it for their own gain to the detriment of the donor (the one who has given the power of attorney).
There are 2.5 million LPAs registered in England and Wales and a small minority of them needed to be investigated – 1,260 concerns were raised about power of attorney cases in the last three months (about 5 in each 10,000).
The key for a successful LPA is to appoint those you really trust and who have a proper interest in making sure you are looked after. They should not be taken lightly as they delegate major powers and can be misused.
You can ensure abuse is less likely by appointing more than one attorney – it is less likely that 2 individuals will agree to a conspiracy to misuse funds than one.
Also, the LPA provides for other interested family members or others to be given notice that there is an LPA in place – enabling them to maybe keep an eye on matters and report to the Court of Protection as soon as they suspect abuse.
Despite what Mr Lush has said, an LPA, if arranged and administered correctly, is still a good idea and a powerful and effective tool to ensure peace of mind.
Our team of specialist lawyers can lead you through the arguments to ensure that your affairs are in proper order and the potential for risk of abuse is minimized.
Jonathan Hall, partner and head of department