Power planning


Anna Orpwood from local solicitors Edwards Duthie Shamash encourages you to put a plan in place for the future management of your affairs, and explains why Lasting Powers of Attorney are important to get right

Have you put a plan in place for the future if you can no longer manage your property and financial affairs or make decisions about your health and welfare? As a solicitor working in this field, I see so many clients who very sadly leave these decisions too late. 

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can only be put in place when you have full mental capacity. There is a real misconception that LPAs are only for very elderly clients and those on the verge of dementia – often, at that point, it is too late to action, and the only option then is lengthy court proceedings with the Court of Protection.

There are two types of LPAs, both very different. It is important you understand the benefits of both when making plans and decisions about your future. You need to consider who your attorneys might be and what extent of authority you are happy for them to have. And you need to talk through all of the options and ensure you make the right choices.

There has been much in the news in recent years about how husbands and wives have been left shocked when they realise they have been unable to access their loved ones’ funds when it is needed, for example, to manage their care or investments. People assume that as they are married, they will automatically be able to access such accounts – this, however, is not the reality. A Lasting Power of Attorney would prevent upset and stress at a time when it would be most unwelcome.

Research by Solicitors For The Elderly shows that 65% of us think our next-of-kin will make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able to. In reality, this is not the case unless a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is in place. Whilst there’s been a rise in the number of enquiries made about LPAs during and since the pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one in place.

To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation, it is important to use a specialist lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law and is trained to support people making these crucial, complex and difficult decisions. According to Which?, 22,000 LPAs are rejected every year, so it is essential you get your legal documents right.

There are many things to think about with Lasting Powers of Attorney and using a specialist will ensure you have fully considered all of your options. I understand making these decisions can seem daunting, and setting up LPAs is a big decision, but it will give you peace of mind in future years once you have done so.

Edwards Duthie Shamash is located at 149 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL. For more information, call 020 8514 9000 or visit edwardsduthieshamash.co.uk