Safeguarding is vital when appointing others to act30-Jul-2018

By Gillian Knowles,  Head of Wills, Trusts & Estates 

Have you considered who would manage your affairs and make decisions, if you have an illness or accident that leaves you incapable of looking after things yourself?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint someone you trust to look after your financial affairs or your health and welfare, with minimum effort, delay and expense.

The process of applying has become much simpler since an online system was introduced a few years ago, which has encouraged many more people to prepare an LPA, with digital applications soaring from 14,000 in the year to March 2014 to 164,000 in the year to March 2017. Paper applications have risen also, and a total of almost 560,000 registrations were made in the year to March 2017, compared with 200,000 in March 2012. But while easier to make, they are also easy to abuse, if safeguards are not put in place.

Unfortunately, that is demonstrated by reports of a significant increase in the number of investigations into the actions of attorneys and deputies who have been appointed under an LPA. These have increased by more than 40% in the past year – 1,729 investigations were carried out in 2017-18 – up from 1,199 the previous year, according to the Office of the Public Guardian, which is responsible for administering LPAs.

While the DIY process makes the process more accessible, professional guidance can make the difference in ensuring adequate control on those acting as attorneys, to help avoid mistakes or in the worst case, abuse.

An LPA is a valuable tool, but the right safeguards must be in place and everyone needs to understand what is involved, and the responsibilities it brings. The advice of a trusted specialist solicitor can provide protection and peace of mind for you and your family. Cullimore Dutton's Wills, Trusts & Estates team are experts in Lasting Powers of Attorney and can guide you through the process. 

For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact a member of the Wills, Trusts & Estates Department at Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

 

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.