Lasting Powers of Attorney Pros and Cons

A Lasting Power of Attorney lets you appoint a person you trust (your Attorney), to manage your affairs if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. If you don’t have anyone who can take on this role, you can appoint a Solicitor as your Attorney.

In England and Wales, there are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney - one for decisions regarding your health and welfare and one covering your property and finances.

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Advantages of Lasting Powers of Attorney

  • It’s relatively inexpensive, as registering a Lasting Power of Attorney with the OPG currently costs just £82. By contrast, if you suddenly lose mental capacity – perhaps because of a sudden accident or illness – and you don’t have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, your loved ones may need to go through the long and costly process of applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. The application fee is currently £385 and the annual supervision fee can be £320, depending on the level of assets.

  • You can choose who can make decisions on your behalf and how many people you want to act as your Attorney. You can also appoint different people to be responsible for each type of Power of Attorney, so the best people are in charge of certain areas.

  • It’s very flexible. A Lasting Power of Attorney isn’t fit for purpose if the document doesn’t reflect a person’s current circumstances if the day comes when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. So if you’ve had a change of circumstances - maybe one of your Attorneys has died since you registered the Lasting Power of Attorney, or you’ve had a child who is now over 18 - you can revise the document accordingly.

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney can be used almost immediately, whereas the process of applying for a Deputyship Order can take up to a year. This can help to reduce the amount of stress experienced by your loved ones at what may already be a very difficult time.

  • Once you have both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney drafted and registered, you can relax knowing that should the time come, the person/people you have chosen, can make decisions for you.

Disadvantages of Lasting Powers of Attorney

  • One commonly raised concern regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney is the Attorney may be untrustworthy and abuse this power. After all, you are giving your representatives access to highly sensitive personal data and entrusting them with the right to make big decisions about your life. Critics of the system argue that there’s not enough scrutiny of a person acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney. Indeed, the level of scrutiny is much higher for someone acting under a Deputyship Order. But that’s why it’s so important to choose someone you trust completely as your Attorney, and ensure the right person is given power over the areas that best suit their skills, experience and circumstances.

Ultimately, the decision regarding whether or not to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney is down to you alone. If you know you can trust someone completely to take on the role of Attorney, a Lasting Power of Attorney can give you invaluable peace of mind, as you know that if you lose mental capacity, decisions can and will be made in your best interests.

And if you aren’t sure who to appoint as your Attorney, you always have the option of assigning this role to a Solicitor, who will represent you fairly and effectively.

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