November 29, 2018
Figures released by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) have revealed that, in the financial year 2017/18, over 1,700 investigations were carried out into the actions of attorneys and deputies who had been granted the power to make decisions on behalf of someone else, including managing their finances.
This represents an alarming increase of over 40% on the previous year.
Generally, the responsibility of managing someone else’s affairs is granted through the making of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA.)
There are two types of LPA:
The most popular is the Property and Affairs LPA and this allows you to appoint attorneys to handle your financial affairs and there are many benefits in making one as part of your future life planning.
However, the rise in investigations by the OPG is of some concern.
This could be down to a number of factors, in particular the rise in DIY LPAs. Anyone can make a Lasting Power of Attorney online, but this may mean that they have taken no advice about who to appoint, or what responsibilities an Attorney has.
Problems can arise at both ends of the spectrum, ranging from a simple misunderstanding of what an attorney can and cannot do, to outright abuse of their position.
The organisation Solicitors for the Elderly urges those thinking of making an LPA to take legal advice to avoid worry, family conflict, and potentially substantial future costs should it become necessary to correct a mistake.
The whole purpose of making an LPA is to safeguard your future should you lose mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. Therefore, it is vital that you and your donors have a full and clear understanding of what you are all letting yourselves in for. Having the correct advice and guidance could allow you to put safeguards into the actual LPA which can restrict what your attorney’s can and cannot do under your LPA or limit their ability to make decisions on your behalf.
Pudsey Legal's Carolyn Monaghan, who is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and also of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, will be happy to give advice and assistance on any aspect of planning for your future.
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