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Furley Page Responds to Judge's Comments

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Furley Page responds to retired Judge's comments on lasting powers of attorney and deputyship orders  

Following the comments of retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush about the risks around Lasting Powers of Attorney, Canterbury law firm Furley Page advises you to seek legal advice and consider all the available options when deciding who can make decisions on your behalf in later life. 

There has been much discussion regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship Orders following comments made by retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush, who has raised concerns that Lasting Powers of Attorney may be open to financial abuse.

Val Prosser, a Senior Associate in the Vulnerable Client Team at Furley Page, said that one of the advantages of a Lasting Power of Attorney is that it is createed by the person while they still have mental capacity. The choice of Attorney(s) is vital and must always be someone you trust implicitly to minimise the risk of financial abuse.

"By comparison, if no Power of Attorney is in place, a Deputyship Order may be issued by the Court of Protection and made in favour of an applicant who is not of your choosing as such an application is made after you have lost capacity to manage your own financial affairs.

"However, a Deputy does have to have insurance renewed annually to cover any loss of your money. The cost of insurance is borne by you and not the Deputy. You will also pay an annual supervision fee to the Office of the Public Guardian and have to submit annual accounts for inspection and approval. These measures are not in place for Attorneys," she added.

Val said there are more than 2.5 million LPAs currently registered in the UK, and are available in two forms:

  • Property and Financial Affairs: This gives an Attorney the authority to act on behalf of a person to deal with their property and finances. This can be implemented regardless of whether or not the donor has mental capacity.
  • Health and Welfare: This enables an Attorney to make decisions about the donor’s health, care and welfare. This only comes into effect if the donor lacks the ability to make such decisions.

Retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush has vowed never to take out a Lasting Power of Attorney for himself having seen some of the worst cases of financial abuse during his 20-year career at the Court of Protection, instead favouring a Deputyship Order.

Val said the debate sparked by the judge’s comments highlights the clear need for professional advice when considering your future needs. It is always possible to appoint a professional Attorney if you are uncertain of who else you might like to appoint.

She said: “I respect the opinion of retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush, and understand his point of view, but each person’s needs and circumstances are different which highlights the need for individual advice before making any firm decisions. Every person needs to weigh up the pros and cons of the different options available to them whilst taking in to account their own circumstances.

“It is important to obtain legal advice when preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney to ensure the appropriate person is appointed to manage your affairs on your behalf. This can be a family member, a friend, or a professional person such as a solicitor.”

Lasting Powers of Attorney can now be processed online, and although retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush did not single this out for criticism, Val says there are potential dangers attached to this approach.

“I have concerns about anyone completing a Lasting Power of Attorney online, in particular, whether or not the donor has his or her full mental capabilities and whether he or she fully understands these documents and the authority given to Attorneys. I also have concerns about possible undue influence from another party when these documents are produced online,” she added.

Val Prosser has 27 years’ experience in the field of elderly and vulnerable client work. She became a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 1996, a global body for the most experienced practitioners in the field of trusts and estates and advising vulnerable clients. Val is a full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and gives talks and seminars to care home residents, charities and local groups. She has also been a volunteer for the charity Contact the Elderly for several years.

For more information and help with a Lasting Power of Attorney contact Val on 01227 763939, email vjp@furleypage.co.uk or visit www.furleypage.co.uk 

You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn




Author:Furley Page

Source:https://www.furleypage.co.uk/?gclid=CKeFvOWL8NUCFU--7QodfD0BAg