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The importance of consulting with a solicitor

The Office of the Public Guardian have made Lasting Powers of Attorney more accessible than ever, but their one-size-fits-all template does not guarantee a tailored fit…

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents in which you appoint people you know and trust (called your Attorneys) to manage your affairs if you can no longer make decisions yourself. There are 2 different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for Property & Financial matters and one for Health and Welfare matters. The decisions your Attorneys make can be as simple as ensuring you still attend your social clubs, or as important as aligning your end of life care decisions with your wishes. Without an LPA, your loved ones may have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order which can be time-consuming, expensive and upsetting.

Going Digital

There are changes in the pipeline to increase the digitalisation of LPAs and this raises some safeguarding concerns. LPAs can be exploited and getting Lasting Powers of Attorneys professionally prepared can reduce the risks of this happening. In addition there are steps that can be taken to safeguard assets, like your house, and we would recommend you take legal advice.

Seamless decision-making

Section 7 of both LPAs provides the ability to add restrictions or preferences to their LPA. The advantage of this is that your loved ones acting as Attorneys can navigate a potentially difficult time managing your affairs with greater clarity and less obstacles. LPAs grant authority to your Attorneys, however without the right clauses there can be difficulties with banks, hospitals or accountants.

These additional clauses can also give you peace of mind that your LPAs are best suited for your wants and needs, and knowledge that any decisions made will be in your best interests.

Safeguarding and security

An LPA is an incredibly important document, not least because it can put power over your financial or health-care decisions into someone else’s hands. There have also been initial concerns around a lack of mechanisms in place for third parties to raise objections, which is an important safe-guarding measure for the families of donors to protect their loved ones against potential abuse. Simply put, a DIY LPA, created on an unsecure Wi-Fi network away from impartial witnesses with your best wishes in mind, does not offer the same securities against fraudulent applications or undue influence and duress as an appointment with a legal professional will.

Extended timelines and lengthy calls

Current government guidelines suggest that it can take up to 20 weeks to register your LPAs. This process can take significantly longer without a keen eye to look over your LPAs and ensure that they meet your needs without any mistakes. Once registered, the submission process would have to start again, at the same cost if any mistakes were found, or if a change in your situation was not accounted for and your LPA no longer suits your needs.

Most of us do not have the excess time it takes to get through to government helplines if extra support is required. Wouldn’t you prefer the expert advice a solicitor could provide in less time without the hold music?

The importance of getting professional advice when getting LPAs prepared should not be underestimated.

How we can help

At Hunt & Coombs, we recommend that you get Lasting Powers of Attorney prepared by legal professionals who will ensure that your Lasting Powers of Attorney are completed correctly and efficiently, and incorporate any bespoke provisions relevant to your individual circumstances so they work well for you should they be needed.

If you would like any assistance or legal advice with setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact our Wills, Trusts & Probate team on 01733 882800 or email [email protected].

Dylan Walsh LLB, Paralegal

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Hunt & Coombs LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales, Registration no. OC320243, VAT no. 120013160. Hunt & Coombs LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with Registration no. 443035. A list of members is available at 35 Thorpe Road, Peterborough PE3 6AG.
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