Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) allow you to appoint people you trust to make decisions for you. Unlike other powers of attorney, an LPA is still valid if you lose mental capacity.
How easy is it to make a mistake?
The main problem with LPAs is that although someone must register the document before use, the Office of the Public Guardian only check for procedural errors. It is not their responsibility to inform you if you are making a common mistake.
These mistakes normally only become apparent when the LPA is needed creating all manner of problems.
To avoid mistakes like those listed below, it makes sense to seek professional advice at the point of creation. It is essential that you completely understand how your choices will affect the use of the LPA going forward.
Here are a few of the common mistakes we see in existing LPAs (and old Enduring Powers of Attorney):
1 – Not having the correct type of LPA
There are two types of LPA covering decisions about (1) your property and finances and (2) your health and wellbeing. If you want your attorneys to make both types of decisions, you will need to prepare two separate LPAs. They are not interchangeable.
2 – Only naming one attorney
If you have only named one attorney, your LPA is at risk. If your attorney dies before you, loses mental capacity themselves or refuses to act, your LPA will fail.
This scenario is common with old Enduring Powers of Attorney, where married couples have only appointed each other to act. If you would like to discuss revoking your Enduring Power of Attorney and preparing a new LPA, please contact the firm.
3 – Not naming the spouse as an attorney
We frequently see LPAs, under which married couples have appointed their children as their attorneys but make no reference to each other.
The main problem with this form of appointment is that it authorises only those named in the LPA (i.e the children) to make decisions. The non-incapacitated spouse has no authority to act and is effectively cut off from the decision-making process.
4 – Failing to communicate your wishes to your attorneys
When acting in your best interests, your attorneys should consider your past and present wishes. Accordingly, it is essential that you let your attorneys know what your wishes are. It might be uncomfortable, especially in the case of end of life wishes, but your attorneys will thank you for it in the long run.
If you would like to discuss preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney or correcting any of the mistakes above, please click here for our contact details. We would be happy to help.
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