Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are becoming more common due to an increase in awareness. However banks may need more training to keep up.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you (the Donor) to decide who will act and make decisions on your behalf when you do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. The people you appoint are known as your Attorneys and they have a duty to act in your best interests.
The purpose of an LPA is to protect your future by ensuring your affairs will still be looked after by someone you trust in the event you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.
The first step for an Attorney stepping in to assist with your financial affairs would be to make contact with your bank. This allows them to be registered on the bank’s records as your Attorney, with the appropriate authority to manage your accounts on your behalf.
However, reports suggest that over the last five years banks have received an increasing number of complaints from people attempting to manage their loved ones accounts under an LPA. The reason for these complaints appears to be two fold:
1. Staff within banks have not been properly trained to deal with LPAs and have subsequently misadvised customers; and
2. The Donor and Attorneys themselves have made mistakes with either the preparation and registration of the LPA, or have not presented the bank with sufficient documentation to have themselves noted on the account.
Given the importance of an LPA, coupled with the fact that it cannot be altered once you have lost mental capacity, it is essential to ensure it is prepared and registered properly to ensure your Attorneys do not encounter difficulties in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Department who will be happy to help and guide you and your Attorneys through the process to ensure the smooth running of your financial affairs. Call 01708 229 444 or email email@example.com
This article was written by Chris Dickinson, an Associate Solicitor in our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at August 2016.