Why use a Solicitor to write a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Nobody likes to think that a time may come when they are unable to make their own decisions, perhaps because of a stroke, accident, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. However, nobody has an automatic right to take control of your affairs if you are unwell – not even your spouse. You need to give people a legal authority to act on your behalf.

It is therefore essential to make arrangements while you are well in case you are affected in the future. The best way of doing this is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.

You can appoint up to four people who you know and trust to act as your attorneys. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney and you can make either or both types:

– An LPA for Financial Decisions enables attorneys to run your bank accounts, manage your savings and investments, sell your property and pay your bills.
– An LPA for Health & Care Decisions enables attorneys to make decisions about your care, medical treatment, where you should live and your daily routine.

A Lasting Power of Attorney does not have to be used immediately and you can run your own affairs and make your own decisions for as long as possible. It is simply stored in a safe place in case it is needed in the future.

It is now possible to prepare your own Lasting Powers of Attorney online and you may wonder: what is the point in paying a solicitor to prepare your Lasting Power of Attorney? The answer is that the forms can appear deceptively simple and you may make mistakes without realising it.

For example, you can appoint your attorneys to act jointly meaning they must do everything together. However, you may not be aware that if one of your joint attorneys dies, the whole Lasting Power of Attorney becomes invalid and the survivor cannot act alone.

A lay person will often write restrictions into their Lasting Power of Attorney not appreciating that some forms of wording are not permitted. Each month, over one hundred invalid restrictions have to be “severed” by the Court of Protection leading to delay, frustration and potentially additional costs.

If you make errors, the Office of the Public Guardian will not give you the opportunity to correct them. They will keep your registration fee of £82 and tell you to start all over again.
The solicitor will also complete the Certificate to Confirm Understanding which forms part of the Lasting Powers of Attorney.

If you do not make a Lasting Power of Attorney then lose capacity, the Court of Protection will need to appoint a deputy to manage your affairs. This will be a person chosen by the Court not by you. The process takes several months and in the meantime, nobody can access your funds to pay bills, care fees or to ensure that your needs are met. In addition, the deputy must complete annual returns and pay an annual fee from your funds to the Court.

If you are wish to discuss a Power of Attorney please contact us or book in for a free 20 minute telephone consultation which are available on Wednesday afternoons (limited availability).