Lasting powers of attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are legal documents that allow trusted people to take control of your finances and make decisions about your care.
Anyone can get LPAs but they’re especially important for elderly people who rely on their sons, daughters and trusted friends to help them with day-to-day tasks.
Although you give a trusted individual, called an attorney, the right to access your bank accounts, there are legal safeguards in place.
The government’s Office of the Public Guardian, which registers all LPAs, says “You cannot make profits or benefit personally from acting for the donor – it’s against the law.”
If you give someone access to your bank account and you don’t have an LPA, you have no such protection.
An example hit the news headlines recently. 61-year-old Susan Beasley was jailed for stealing £137,395 from her elderly father Ronald Clarke.
According to Mail Online, the theft took place over 11 years. Beasley even robbed him of “£2,500 he had put in a marked envelope for his funeral expenses.”
Mr Clarke reportedly lived with damp in his house and leaks in his roof. He believed he had no money to pay for heating, so lived in one room with a gas fire to keep warm.
The theft was discovered when Mr Clarke’s other daughter, Terri, moved closer to her father to spend more time with him.
Clearly, an attorney could still take advantage of an elderly person. But such actions are criminal and people who abuse LPAs face a prison sentence if caught. It’s also easier to spot fraudulent activity because attorneys must keep detailed financial records.
With no LPA in place, there are no such safeguards. The fraud could entirely undetected and the perpetrator might never be discovered.
Of course, loving children would never stoop to such acts. But it’s still a good idea to get LPAs for their benefit. That way, they’ll legally be able to access your account if it’s frozen by the bank should you lose mental capacity.
To discuss LPAs with one of our advisors, call 0117 440 1555.