Lasting Powers of Attorney
Following retired Senior Judge Denzil Lush’s comments regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40887323), I thought it worthwhile exploring the situation more.
Denzil has said that there are risks associated in appointing someone to look after your affairs, for both financial and health & welfare decisions. He is right, there are risks, however he has said that there are issues with 1 in 8 Powers of Attorney, which means that in the vast majority of cases, families care for the loved ones with diligence and compassion. For those unfortunate to be involved in the cases of fraud or careless decision making, it can be devastating, both financially and from the family relations perspective.
Denzil has also said that he would not create LPAs and would rely on the Court of Protection to appoint an attorney, if he were to become unable to manage his affairs. What he did not discuss in his article is the cost of doing do and the time it takes. Deputyship orders can be done in person, but they are complicated and I often see people who have tried and given up. The legal costs for a simple application for deputyship is IRO£1,500.00+VAT plus the Court fee of £400 (total around £2,200)* and this does not include the cost of the Bond or the ongoing costs of supervision of the Deputy, which can run to thousands of pounds a year. The result from the Court will be a supervised order covering the daily management of the donor’s financial affairs, but it is unlikely to include health & welfare decisions, as these are rarely granted.
If there is anything that changes in that person’s affairs, then a further order to the Court of Protection might be required for a more complicated matter. This is likely to involve significant legal fees, including those of the Official Solicitor to represent the donor and can easily be IRO£10,000 and upwards.
Lasting Powers of Attorney by contrast, can have restrictions added to them for protection and cost £600+VAT plus the registration fee of £164 (total £884)*. This cost would cover both financial and health and welfare decisions, so would cover far more than the Deputyship order in all likelihood.
At Nash & Co Solicitors, if the LPAs are done for people who have capacity and are not expecting to use them for a while, we will hold onto the original and release it or certified copies of it at the direct request of the donor or with evidence of loss of capacity, if this is the donor’s original instructions, to add an additional layer of protection.
There are risks to creating Powers of Attorney and Deputy’s can commit fraud too, although hopefully the Office of the Public Guardian would realise, but this can take a while.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are a great tool to allow someone to be taken care of, at a time when they really need help.
*current prices for Nash & Co Solicitors