The forms used to make Lasting Powers of Attorney have recently been changed by The Office of the Public Guardian. The new forms, which can be completed online, are intended to make it easier for people to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place themselves.
Although the forms are now easier to navigate, great care still needs to be taken when filling them in, as use of the wrong wording or ticking the wrong box may have unintended consequences which could restrict the usefulness of the Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you are considering putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney (which is something we should all consider, no matter our age), it is still generally beneficial to seek the assistance of a solicitor. The ability to discuss your options and the way in which the documents may be used with someone that regularly prepares and advises on them is something that our clients find very useful. Using a solicitor to complete the forms should also give you the added confidence that they will work as you intend them to. Often when there is a problem with the way in which a Lasting Power of Attorney has been drafted, it is discovered too late to make any changes.
The simplification of the Lasting Power of Attorney process has also raised concerns that the system could be open to abuse and that those who are vulnerable may be put at risk. If you are considering assisting someone who is vulnerable due to physical or mental difficulties to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, it may be wise to involve a solicitor to ensure that the documents and choice of attorneys are properly discussed with the person making the power of attorney.
If you think that your choice of attorney or attorneys may cause family disagreements, it is also a good idea to involve a solicitor, so that your understanding of the Lasting Power of Attorney is well documented and less open to challenge.
Written by Helen Dawson of Berwins Solicitors