Government reaffirms commitment to Lasting Powers of Attorney

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to ensure people taking out Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are given the help and protection they need.

LPAs enable you to nominate someone such as a family member or trusted associate to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself in the future through illnesses such as dementia.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

There are safeguards to prevent the system being abused so you can prepare for the possibility of ill health secure in the knowledge that you can leave important decisions in the hands of someone you trust.

If you don’t have such arrangements in place, your family may have to go through complicated and time-consuming legal processes just to get the authority to help run your affairs for you. That is the last thing they want at a time when they will already be worried about you and your failing health.

The Office of the Public Guardian, which looks after the interests of vulnerable people, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have issued guidelines for businesses and the service industries on how to ensure they act correctly when dealing with people using LPAs.

The guide entitled, Supporting customers who do not make their own decisions aims to help organisations understand what the law requires of them.

In a joint foreword to the guide, the Minister for Small Business and Consumers, Kelly Tolhurst, and Business Minister Edward Argar, said: “Powers of attorney are a valuable tool that helps some of our country’s most vulnerable people have their affairs managed before or when they have lost mental capacity.

“However, those who act in the best interests of adults at risk often find the process of dealing with the companies they rely on both confusing and inconsistent.

“This guide sets out clear policies and advice. It provides clarity to the law and helpful information which can ease the burden and stresses that new and current care givers face on a day-to-day basis, by making their simple transactions as smooth and problem free as possible.”

LPAs should be drawn up with the help of a solicitor to ensure that they accurately express your wishes and protect your interests.

No one can be sure what the future will bring them in terms of their health, but LPAs can at least ensure that their interests are protected should the worst happen.

Please contact us if you would like more information about making a will or creating a lasting power of attorney.

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