Bishop & Sewell
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More than one million lasting powers of attorney were registered in 2023 – an increase of 37% on the previous year and the highest annual total on record.

The increase has been largely attributed to both the increased awareness of the benefits of lasting powers of attorney (LPA) and that much of the application process has been moved online making it a quicker and easier process.

Yet just as the process of creating an LPA has become easier, the financial and healthcare needs and family arrangements of many of us are increasingly complex. Taking specialist legal advice when creating your LPA is often a wise investment.

There are two types of LPA – one covering health and welfare and the other addressing your property and financial affairs. It is possible to have one without the other, but increasingly individuals are choosing to have both prepared at the same time. Both give a chosen individual or individuals (your attorney), the power to make decisions on your behalf when you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.

A health and welfare LPA will address things such as medical care, when to move into a care home and your daily routine, such as washing, dressing and eating.

A property and financial LPA will decide who can manage your financial affairs, including paying bills, collecting your pension, selling assets or your home, and who has access to your bank or savings accounts.

Given the importance of these documents, and the powers that an attorney will hold when you are at your most vulnerable, care and attention should be taken in creating the LPAs and in choosing your attorneys.

A solicitor can help in both creating an LPA and acting as an attorney often alongside a family member.

LPAs are complicated documents and need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before they can be used. A solicitor will bring many years of experience in creating LPAs and understand where problems might arise. The OPG takes its role seriously, and rightly so, but that can mean documents that are missing information or not completed in a way it wants are rejected for registration.

Whilst in many instances having family members appointed as attorneys is the right thing to do – they will know the family member well and their day-to-day requirements – it can be a substantial and time-consuming commitment.

When creating your LPA you should understandably speak to your intended attorneys and make them aware of your wishes, asking if they have the time and expertise to make that commitment. If they agree, it is also advisable to periodically check with your appointed attorneys that they are still happy to take on that role should it ever be required.

Having a solicitor act as an attorney alongside family members, particularly on property and finance LPAs, can provide that additional level of expertise and impartiality that can bring peace of mind to both the creator of the LPA and fellow attorneys.

This is perhaps more important where an individual has a sizeable estate, complex financial arrangements or difficult relationships with family members. Where business interests are involved a separate power of attorney should be considered to facilitate the continued running of the business or its winding up. Unlike family members, solicitors are highly regulated and must maintain exceptionally high standards of advice.

For more information on how Bishop & Sewell can help you with your LPA or on acting as an attorney please do get in touch.

 

Contact our Private Client Solicitors

If you have questions surrounding ownership of property or other assets overseas,  or are in need of advice or assistance on any of the legal issues mentioned in this article, please contact Olivia Meekin, Partner or any member of our experienced Private Client team on 020 7631 4141 or email privateclient@bishopandsewell.co.uk 

The above is accurate as at 09 April 2024. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Category: Blog, News | Date: 9th Apr 2024


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