Powers of Attorney – It’s a good idea but needs thought!!!
Lasting Powers of Attorney
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There was a really interesting case concerning LPAs on Radio 4 this morning (15th August)
As so often the discussion arose out of a distressing case where an elderly war veteran was cheated out of his money including his war medals and his wife’s wedding ring by his neighbour. The neighbour had persuaded him to sign a Power of Attorney appointing him as the attorney.
The neighbour then basically plundered the estate, and left the old man with nothing. He has now been sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Cruelty to the elderly is a red line issue for me.
A senior retired judge was on the radio saying that he would never sign an LPA and he would advise people to use the Court of Protection which was where he used to work.
There’s a real problem here and we all need to give this a lot of thought.
The Court of Protection is indeed an option but it’s very expensive and not quick. You would have to pay for the court application fee (£400), medical report (not cheap), legal costs (capped at £850 + VAT), bond and supervision fee (averaging about £400 per annum).
It takes about 2 to 3 months to get a deputy appointed.
LPAs are cheaper and quicker. However, they are open to abuse. It is easy to say that you should choose only those whom you trust, but strangely the most common culprits are themselves in their 50s and 60s and are defrauding the estates of elderly relatives.
I still say that the Court of Protection is ideal for those with large estates or complex needs.
LPAs would suit most and probably the majority are used perfectly properly.
Naming attorneys is still the way forward. With the right people appointed, an LPA is a very good document to use.
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