LPAs - Survey reveals misunderstandings and misconceptions

LPA LPA
6 April 2022

Consumer campaign company, Which? recently surveyed roughly 2,000 UK residents on their understanding of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). The findings revealed that the public did not have an appropriate level of knowledge about them and had misunderstandings about how they worked.  

For example, 77% of those surveyed believed that an LPA could be created at any time in their life, not realising that they could not do so once mental capacity had been lost. There were also misconceptions around how an LPA changed the access rights to a donor’s bank account, with some people reporting unclear guidance or advice from the banks themselves, leading to confusion and frustration for many families.  

In this blog, we’ve listed our top 5 reasons to have an LPA and 5 common misconceptions about them. We’ve also put together a useful briefing note, as we work alongside our clients to help improve understanding for families who might require an LPA. You can download the briefing note here and feel free to apply your branding and further information as you see fit.  

The free briefing note includes information about the following: 

  1. What is a Lasting Power of Attorney
  2. Who can be your attorney?
  3. When can an LPA be used
  4. How will my attorneys know how I want them to act? 
  5. How do you put an LPA in place? 

Here’s our 5 reasons to have an LPA:

  1. One in three people aged over 65 will develop dementia, so it is important to ensure that finances and health will be looked after if you can’t deal with those matters yourself.
  2. If you lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA no one can access your bank accounts to pay for your care or your bills without involving the court.
  3. You get to choose who can make decisions for you when you’re unable to do so. Your next of kin can’t automatically make decisions for you and if you don’t have an LPA the court may need to appoint someone to act for you.
  4. If no one can operate your bank accounts it might leave your family vulnerable, even when trying to pay for something as simple as a household bill, as Kate Garraway has found following her husband Derek Draper having to be put in an induced coma after contracting Covid-19.
  5. You can clearly state your wishes such as the circumstances in which you would want your home to be sold or types of medical treatment you would not wish to receive.

5 common misconceptions about LPAs:

  1. Your attorneys can use your LPA to change your Will – they cannot. Only you, or in certain circumstances the court, can change your Will.
  2. Your attorneys can give away all your money – they cannot. There are clear rules on what gifts attorneys can make on your behalf and these are very limited.
  3. Your Enduring Power of Attorney already covers you – it does not. It only covers financial and property decisions but not health or care decisions.
  4. You can’t manage or control your own affairs once you have made an LPA – you can. Whilst you have mental capacity your attorneys can only act for you with your consent, and only in respect of your financial affairs. Only you can make decisions about your health and care whilst you have mental capacity irrespective of whether you have a health & welfare LPA in place.
  5. Your attorneys can sort out your finances after your death – they can’t. LPAs stop working on death and at that point your executors take over. 

Feel free to share the above with your clients too and for more information about how our software supports you in the creation of LPAs, please contact us.