Retired judge, Denzil Lush, recently criticised the lack of safeguards affecting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). Lush was a senior Judge for 20 years in the Court of Protection (COP), which protects the interests of those who lack capacity.
Lush said that he would never make an LPA himself and would prefer to rely on the alternative, a Deputyship Order. For many, a Deputyship Order is seen as a last resort as it is costly and time-consuming.
Deputyship Orders are made after the individual has lost capacity which means that there will be a delay in being able to act for the individual whilst the Order is being processed.
The obligations on a Deputy are onerous. They need to produce accounts and pay for a surety bond which can seem harsh when, for example the Deputy is a spouse and acts in good faith.
By contrast, an LPA enables a person to actively choose and appoint their own trusted attorneys. The LPA process is quicker and costs less than obtaining a Deputyship Order .
Unfortunately abuse does sometimes happen with LPAs. The ease with which applications can be made online, without legal advice, may mean individuals make LPAs without careful consideration, and therefore making poor decisions.
Lush will have seen plenty of examples of suspected or proven abuse which is bound to have had some impact on his views of the overall procedures in place.
LPAs can be an enormous help to family members who act in good faith as attorneys and empowering an individual to choose their own attorney.
Getting good legal advice at the outset is vital. This ensures an individual thinks carefully about who to appoint as attorneys, and what safeguards they should take if there are any concerns.
If you are thinking of making an LPA or are concerned about any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Mary McCrorie on 0117 314 5368 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for specialist legal advice.