Partner and Head of Private Client, Lynn Smith from Kitsons Solicitors in Torquay has defended lasting powers of attorney (LPA) after Denzil Lush, the former Senior Judge of the Court of Protection, warned they may leave elderly people open to abuse.
An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about care and finances on their behalf, in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness such as dementia.
In the foreword to a new book on the subject, Mr Lush raised concerns about the “lack of transparency” in how appointed attorneys manage older people’s finances. The former judge went on to criticise the Ministry of Justice as being “disingenuous” in its promotion of the legal document.
However, Lynn Smith - a member of national organisation Solicitors for the Elderly - said LPAs are effective safeguards when created responsibly:
“Senior Judge Lush’s comments have given rise to fears that LPAs are a direct avenue for financial abuse. However, his comments must be put into context, as his 20-year career at the Court of Protection will have presented him with the very worst cases of financial abuse.
“An LPA can be a positive and effective legal tool, which ensures your wishes are respected should you ever lose capacity. Senior Judge Lush’s comments should highlight the clear need for professional advice when considering powerful legal documents of this nature.”
To find out more about lasting powers of attorney contact a member of Kitsons’ Private Client team on 01803 202020.