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Changes to Lasting Power of Attorney laws come into effect

By z4027672030, Sep 25 2015 11:44AM

Changes to the way Lasting Power of Attorney laws work have been introduced this summer, and are designed to encourage people to take a more proactive approach towards preparing these documents for themselves.

A Lasting Power of Attorney enables people to give a person they trust the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf concerning their health and welfare or financial affairs, if at some point they come to lack mental capacity or no longer wish to make decisions for themselves.

There are two separate types of Lasting Power of Attorney which can be made, one covering financial and property decisions and the other concerned with health and welfare.

The new style Lasting Powers of Attorney were introduced by the Office of the Public Guardian in early July.

The changes mean people seeking a Lasting Power of Attorney no longer need a second certificate provider in order to complete the process, making it easier to obtain a Lasting Power of Attorney. While some parties have expressed concern this move could make it easier for people to obtain a Lasting Power of Attorney falsely, a number of other safeguards against this type of behaviour remain in place.

Anyone seeking a Lasting Power of Attorney will still need an independent witness and someone who can certify that the subject of the Lasting Power of Attorney has capacity. The requirement for a signature and witness to be present when the life sustaining treatment section is completed has also remained in place.

This means the process has been simplified and we are now able to deal with Lasting Powers of Attorney more quickly, however, the changes don’t mean anyone can simply go ahead and file their own Lasting Power of Attorney paper work.

While it is easier to complete paperwork now, it should not be forgotten these are powerful documents which allow others to make decisions for you and could, in the wrong hands, facilitate abuse and fraud.

Sadly, examples of this happening are not uncommon, with an increase in fraud against elderly relatives recorded in the UK over the last year.

A recent KPMG survey highlighted how fraud committed within families increased fivefold last year. The survey cited one case in which a man stole £600,000 in savings from his mother after discovering he was not the main recipient of her will and another in which a woman stole her father’s savings after being granted Power of Attorney, leaving his bills unpaid.

That’s why we believe it is best to appoint solicitors to help when you seek Power of Attorney North Devon. We are able to help clients navigate their way through the process, which is extremely technical in parts – the official guide alone, published by the Office of the Public Guardian, is 48 pages long with links and references to more detailed guidance elsewhere.

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