Why you should consider having a Lasting Power of Attorney
27 September 18  /  Insights

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legally binding document that appoints one or more people to act on your behalf should you no longer be in a position of making decisions for yourself, such as from injury or illness. Whether or not somebody should have an LPA sparks a debate over whether this is the right thing to do and if you can ever completely trust somebody to act in your best interests on your behalf.

Appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney has received a lot of bad press over the years, due to people taking advantage of their power and there not being enough regulations in place to stop this abuse of power.

In the news recently, Frank Willett, a Dunkirk and Normandy veteran, was exploited by his neighbour. In 2003, when Frank was in his early 80s and suffering from dementia, he made his neighbour his attorney, giving him responsibility for his financial affairs. That year, said neighbour withdrew nearly £9,000 from his dependants account in a single transaction. As he had power of attorney, the bank didn't contact Frank’s relatives. The LPA drew out more money as well as disposing of other items such as jewellery and army medals. Whilst Mr Willett's daughter managed to revoke the power of attorney in 2008, all of her father's money had gone.

On the contrary, Tamsyn Wood would recommend having a Lasting Power of Attorney when her husband Alex, then 31 years old, suffered a head injury playing rugby, which caused swelling on the brain and a haemorrhage. He consequently lost the ability to do everyday tasks such as walk and talk and was therefore in no state himself to make decisions, having a devastating impact on his entire family. With no LPA, Tamsyn had no voice in matters concerning her husband and decisions were made by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), who had only met Alex a couple of times. Tamsyn was told that if she was Alex’s LPA, she would have had more of say on key decisions.

LPAs are often associated with the older generation, but a valuable lesson we can take away from Tamsyn’s story is that it is important to consider appointing an LPA, regardless of age, to prevent such circumstances.

As with everything, there are pros and cons. But in most cases, having a Lasting Power of Attorney can be of benefit it is a person you can wholeheartedly trust to act on your behalf. Benefits include:  

  • You can decide now, while you have capability, who manages your finances should you lose the ability in the future, giving yourself peace of mind
  • It can be on a temporary basis
  • It is cheaper to appoint an LPA now instead of having your loved ones having to make an application to court
  • As a legally binding document, it cannot be ignored so your money and assets cannot fall into the wrong hands, preventing a stranger making decisions for you
  • Your affairs can be dealt with more quickly
  • It can help avoid issues with access to your finances to pay any bills you may have.  

At Mathews Comfort, we feel that having a trustworthy Lasting Power of Attorney in place can be crucial to your Lifestyle Financial Plan. If you’re concerned about appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney, speak to us today.

BBC News - www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk
BBC Radio 5 Live - www.bbc.co.uk/programmes