Lasting power of attorney specialists

Worthing, West Sussex

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney are an essential part of future planning. If during your lifetime you develop difficulties which mean that you are no longer physically or mentally able to handle your own affairs without assistance, a Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to nominate one or more people you trust to assist you and make decisions on your behalf in the event you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place then it is possible the Court will appoint one or more person on your behalf, and these may not have been the choices you would have made for yourself. There is a widely assumed misconception that if you are married or in a civil partnership then your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your financial matters such as managing your bank accounts and make decisions about your healthcare, however this is not the case. Only with a valid Power of Attorney in place will your spouse have the legal authority to make these decisions on your behalf.

In order to make a Power of Attorney you must be able to make your own decisions and fully understand the decisions you are making (known as ‘mental capacity’). Once you’ve lost mental capacity making a Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer an option, so it is important not to leave it too late.

Our experienced lawyers can talk you through the various options available and make sure that your Lasting Power of Attorney meets your particular wishes and needs.

The Hidden Cost of ‘DIY’ Lasting Powers of Attorney

Creating a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in England can be convenient and cost-effective, but it also comes with potential issues and risks. Here are some of the common problems associated with DIY LPAs:

  • Legal Complexity: LPAs are legal documents that involve complex legal terminology and requirements. DIY attempts may not adequately address these complexities, potentially leading to invalid or ineffective LPAs.
  • Incomplete or Inaccurate Information: DIY forms may not prompt you to provide all the necessary details, leading to incomplete documents that could be rejected or challenged.
  • Lack of Legal Advice: DIY LPAs typically do not come with legal advice. A solicitor or legal professional can offer guidance to ensure that the LPA accurately reflects your wishes and complies with the law.
  • Vulnerability to Abuse: An improperly executed LPA could leave you vulnerable to financial or personal abuse, as there may be insufficient safeguards in place.
  • Inadequate Witnessing: LPAs require specific witnessing and signing procedures. Errors in this process can render the document invalid.
  • Changes in Legislation: The rules and regulations surrounding LPAs can change over time. DIY documents may not stay current with the latest legal requirements.
  • Family Disputes: DIY LPAs may not adequately address potential family disputes or disagreements regarding your wishes, leading to conflicts in the future.
  • Rejection by the Office of the Public Guardian: If the DIY LPA is not completed correctly, it may be rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian, requiring you to start the process again.

To avoid these issues, many individuals opt to consult with a solicitor or legal professional when creating LPAs. A suitably qualified legal professional can provide legal advice, ensure the document complies with the law, and help protect your interests and wishes. While it may involve additional costs, professional guidance can provide peace of mind and minimize the risk of future problems with your LPA.

Please call us on 01903 700303 if you need to make, register, amend or cancel a Lasting Power of Attorney.