What does it mean to be an Attorney in an LPA?

By 2025, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. One in five people over 85 already suffers from it, with rates significantly higher among women than men. Handling your financial affairs becomes virtually impossible – which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead to ease the potential burden on our relatives.”

A recent article in the Guardian written by Rebecca Ley was a stark reminder as to why it is so important that proposed Attorneys are made fully aware of their potential role. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are powerful documents and the role of the attorney should not be entered into lightly without fully understanding what is expected of you.

“If I had known how soon Dad’s diagnosis of probable vascular dementia would be made, I’d have taken it more seriously.”

The consequences of not having an LPA are obviously much worse (See Heather Bateman’s story). But it is vital that the right people are picked as your representatives.  As Rebecca found out there is a lot depending on you and it can sometimes be better to spread the burden with more than one attorney.

What I found deplorable was that nobody had taken the time to sit down with Rebecca and explain the rudimentary basics of what a Lasting Power of Attorney is.  She even says herself that;

“I wish I’d had more of a clue about what it meant at the time. I didn’t even realise that there are two kinds of power of attorney – one for property and business affairs, which is what I hold, and another for health and welfare, which gives the attorney the right to make medical decisions.”

People’s situations can change very quickly and if the burden of being an attorney for a family member or friend falls upon you it really is essential that you are aware of what is expected.  At Farsight Wills we always allocate time to make sure that Attorneys are fully conversant with the role they will fulfil and answer any questions they may have.

For the Donor we provide the support required to make wise choices in what can be a complicated area.  As advisers we are aware that the friendly side is important too. If your consultant hasn’t taken the time to understand you it is unlikely that they will be able to offer best advice when drawing up your LPA.  There is no substitute for talking the matter through with all concerned so that they are equipped to deal with events should the situation arise when an LPA is necessary.

For further information on LPAs or any other Estate Planning matters feel free to contact us.

The original Guardian article can be found here