Lasting Powers of Attorney – New Forms – Certificate Providers

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A Bristol woman has taken part in the successful prosecution of her carer after she obtained video evidence of the carer stealing money from her in her own home.

The severely disabled woman became suspicious 16 months after successfully prosecuting her previous carer when money started to go missing.  Lorraine Andrews said “I must either be the unluckiest person in England, or this sort of thing must be rife”.

Although Ms. Andrews’ circumstances may seem unreal, the need to trust those around you is central to independent living for many elderly people.  When deciding whether to appoint someone to look after your affairs for you if you become incapable, you must ensure that you can completely trust the person you are appointing. 

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 introduced new Lasting Powers of Attorney to replace the old Enduring Powers of Attorney.  The first version of the form was lengthy and daunting for clients.  The Office of the Public Guardian have since revised the form to the current version which, although longer than the Enduring Powers of Attorney, is shorter than the first.

The new Lasting Powers of Attorney forms incorporate two significant changes. The first of which is that all Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered before they can be used.  When applying for registration of the Lasting Powers of Attorney, the Donor can now choose to notify others of the registration.  This is hoped to be a safeguard against misuse by incorporating other people into the process and help prevent pressure being placed on the elderly to make decisions they would not otherwise have made.  Unfortunately, the Office of the Public Guardian underestimated the number of Lasting Powers of Attorney’s created and are currently working through a backlog of registrations.  The registration process is currently taking up to 4 months.

The second change is the need for a Lasting Powers of Attorney Certificate Provider. The role of the Certificate Provider is to ensure that the Donor is making the decision to appoint an Attorney of their own free will and understands the consequences of completing and signing the form.

The purpose of making a Lasting Powers of Attorney is to ensure that if you become incapable of managing your own affairs due to either mental or physical disability then your Attorney can step in and manage your affairs on your behalf.  If the reason that your Attorney is acting is as a result of your mental incapacity, you are unlikely to have the ability to ensure that they are acting in your best interests.  As such, it is imperative that you have complete trust in the person you appoint.  Your Attorney will have access to your bank accounts and other investments as well as being able to sell your house if needed. 

The rules that govern an Attorney state that they cannot be seen to benefit themselves as a result of being your Attorney and that they must always act in your best interests and although, in my own experience, instances of financial abuse are rare, beware, the temptation may just be too great for some.

For an initial consultation or Lasting Powers of Attorney guidance please call Kirsten Bradley, a Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts Solicitor at Forbes Solicitors on freephone 0800 975 2463 or contact our Solicitors online today.
 

 

 

This entry was posted in Wills, Tax, Trusts and Probate.

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