Last Updated on 11.4.23 by Michael Smoult
A recent article concerning a young woman who abused her position as her grandfather’s attorney to steal tens of thousands of pounds has highlighted the importance of selecting the right attorneys.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. This person is known as your attorney. It is essential that you choose the right attorney when preparing your LPA as they will be responsible for important decisions related to your health, welfare, and finances.
Before you decide on your attorneys, there are a few key issues that you may wish to consider.
Protecting your interests
Your attorneys have a duty to act in your best interests but as I’m sure you can imagine, this is not always what happens in practice. Choosing someone you trust to act in your best interests is crucial, as it ensures that your wishes are respected and that you are properly cared for. You want to ensure that the attorneys you select are able to give effect to your wishes and not make decisions that are contrary to your expressed preferences or values.
There are two separate LPA’s, one for Property and Financial affairs and one for Health and Welfare. You do not have to appoint the same attorneys for both LPA’s and it is often the case that someone you would trust to carry out your wishes for your health and welfare, may not be the same person you would trust to deal with your financial affairs.
Ensuring competence and reliability
An LPA is a powerful document and people often underestimate the power it confers and the role and responsibility that an attorney will have in the future.
Your attorney should be someone who is competent and reliable and they should be able to make informed decisions on your behalf and act responsibly. Choosing someone who is not up to the task can result in poor decision-making and potentially harmful consequences. Issues that are important to consider but are often overlooked are their geographical location, availability and whether they will be able to fulfil their duties as an attorney when needed.
An LPA may not be required for many years. Accordingly, you must also consider whether your attorneys will be able to act for you in the future as well as now.
Protecting against abuse
Unfortunately, instances of abuse of power by attorneys do occur.
Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse of power by attorneys. This can include such things as misusing funds, taking money without permission, or using your assets for their own benefit.
There are also many instances where attorneys may use their position of power to coerce or manipulate you into making decisions that are not in your best interests. This can include pressuring you to change your will or transfer assets to them, or making decisions that benefit them rather than you.
Choosing appropriate attorneys can help protect against such abuse. It’s important to choose someone who is trustworthy, has a good reputation, and is not likely to misuse their power. You can also include safeguards in your LPA to help prevent abuse, such as requiring two or more attorneys to act together.
Abuse of power by attorneys under an LPA is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences. It’s important to be aware of the signs of abuse and take steps to prevent it from happening. If you suspect that your attorney is abusing their power, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. This may include revoking the LPA, seeking legal advice, or reporting the abuse to the Office of the Public Guardian.
How Gorvins Solicitors can help
Choosing appropriate attorneys for your LPA is essential to protect your interests and ensure that your wishes are respected. It’s important to carefully consider your options and choose attorneys who are competent, reliable, and trustworthy. By taking the time to choose the right attorneys, you can have peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be managed properly if you become unable to do so yourself.
If you would like assistance in preparing your Lasting Power of Attorney and would like to discuss this further, call 0161 930 5151 or email email@example.com. A member of the Court of Protection, Wills, Trust and Estate team will provide you with the necessary guidance and help you draft an LPA that meets your requirements.