A documentary recently aired (the ‘Tonight’ programme, titled ‘Fraud: Robbing the Elderly’) in which retired Judge Denzil Lush talked once again about his gripes with Lasting Powers of Attorney. This isn’t the first time he’s made these controversial, arguably irresponsible comments, stating back in 2017 that he would never enter into one down to their vulnerability to abuse.
Unfortunately, this is bound to have a negative impact and discourage people who most definitely should make Lasting Powers, to label them as ‘bad’ and resultantly leave matters entirely to chance.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document by which you can appoint a person or persons you know and trust, to deal with your property and finances and/or health and care matters should you ever become unable to yourself. This may be by reason of accident leading to injury, or illness such as dementia. It is important to note that a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made by a person while they have mental capacity i.e. before any such event. It is therefore sensible for any person, young or old, to make appropriate arrangements. After all, none of us know what the future holds.
It is fair to say that Lasting Powers of Attorney are indeed very powerful documents, potentially allowing somebody to step into your shoes and deal with all matters and make all decisions that you currently take for yourself. If you are indeed appointing those you trust however, especially in conjunction with appropriate legal advice, surely this is preferable to the alternative. Conversely, If a person loses mental capacity without having ever made a Lasting Power of Attorney, unfortunately, they have no say over who manages their money or takes care decisions on their behalf. Instead, a court of protection order is required to enable somebody else (who you might not necessarily have chosen) to do so. Obtaining a court of protection order is 1. A much longer process, with a wait of around 6-8 months and 2. Far costlier, both in terms of Court fees and solicitors fees. A court of protection matter is also far harder to come by in relation to care matters and therefore fees may be incurred unnecessarily.
It is a shame that the views of one person circulated to so many people will inevitable have the effect of putting them off of such important documents.
If you wish to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01473 298197.