A former Senior Judge recently shared his view on the risks surrounding Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and the need for the public to be aware of them.
During a radio interview for BBC Radio 4, Denzil Lush stated that due to the ‘devastating effect’ it can have on family relationships, he would never choose to sign an LPA himself.
LPAs enable a trusted individual to make decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to do so or has lost mental capacity. They can be a vital element of later life planning when considered and drafted effectively, providing peace of mind for those who need it the most.
Whilst the views of Lush are significant, it’s also important that they are put into context. Having spent two decades as a Senior Judge at the Court of Protection, he will have been exposed to the negative impact of LPAs, resulting in family disputes and fraudulent behaviour. Although this does occur, the majority of LPAs made will work for their intended purpose, operating in the best interests of all parties concerned.
In light of the 2.4 million LPAs registered, experts have stated that the comments of the former judge should not be considered in isolation. With the risks he highlights, there are also great benefits for vulnerable individuals of any age, providing them with both stability and peace of mind knowing that decisions will be made by someone that they trust.
Rather than focus on the negatives of the LPAs, it has instead been suggested that the public should be educated as to their importance. Whilst their negative impact will often make headlines, cases arise every day where an LPA could have prevented a dispute ending up in court. Increasing awareness would improve attitudes towards later life planning, as well as encouraging people like you to understand the role of an attorney. In turn, this would lead to greater and more careful contemplation when you come to making the decision, therefore reducing the risk of problems arising in the first place.
The most effective way to ensure that you’re making the right decision is to seek professional advice. Not something that can be rushed, LPAs require careful consideration and will be unique to the circumstances of the individual, accounting for specific needs and requirements.
When transferring decision-making powers, it’s vital that you speak to someone with experience.