Do-it-yourself Lasting Powers of Attorney – The Risks To Be Aware Of

An ever-increasing number of people are adopting a do-it-yourself approach to making their Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), made much easier with on-line forms which can be found on the Government website.

Given the benefits that LPA’s can bring when assisting elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives, the risk associated with LPA can often be overlooked when simply approaching it as a form filling exercise.

Whilst a do-it-yourself approach has the obvious benefit of reducing fees spent on legal advice, a note of caution should always be considered.

An LPA is a very powerful document with significant risks involved for both the Attorney and the person making the LPA (the Donor).

For the Donor, they are enabling other people to make highly significant decisions on their behalf and access highly confidential information about their property, finances and health. The newspapers are frequently filled with examples of Attorneys who have acted to the detriment of Donors especially when it comes to their finances. Attorneys are not subject to routine scrutiny by the Office of the Public Guardian which mainly operates in a reactive rather than pro-active manner when it comes to Attorneys.

Accordingly, if you are appointing Attorneys it is very important to consider the suitability of the people you are appointing, and whether there are safeguards which can be built into the LPA to mitigate any unreasonable risk, and to ensure that your own wishes and preferences are heeded by your future Attorney.

If you are an Attorney, you are accepting a role of great responsibility with potential far reaching consequences if you do not perform the role in an appropriate manner. There is very clear guidance which Attorneys should follow, especially when it comes to finances, and it is not a role which should be entered into lightly or without understanding your responsibilities.

Whilst you may prefer to prepare your own LPA rather than pay a Solicitor to do this on your behalf, at MLP Law we believe it is still very important that you and/or your attorneys obtain some legal advice to ensure you understand the nature of the LPA and Donor/Attorney relationship to avoid potential future problems.

We are happy to provide a single fixed fee appointment to talk you through the options and issues which you should consider, so that you can feel confident for the future decisions which may need to be made on your behalf, or on behalf of someone else.

For further information, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate Associate Solicitor Kerry Blackhurst on 0161 926 1533