Lawyers See Increase In Lasting Power Of Attorney Disputes

Experts Urge Public To Involve Loved Ones In Decisions About The Future

06.02.2014

Lawyers specialising in will and estate disputes are urging people who are planning to put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place to carefully consider who they appoint to look after their affairs, after the team saw an increase in its number of cases related to the issue.

Established under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, LPAs allow people to nominate friends or family who they would like to manage their personal and financial affairs in the event that they lose the ability to do so – for example, if they were to develop dementia.

While in a great number of scenarios the concept provides much relief to families at incredibly difficult times, Irwin Mitchell’s Will, Trust and Estate Dispute team has seen a 75% increase in the number of cases in which relationships between family members or friends have broken down when they have been frozen out of important decisions related to a loved one.

The specialist team is now calling on the general public to recognise the vital role that LPAs can play, as well as the need to be clear with family and friends when nominating someone to take on the responsibility.

An example of a case related to this issue is that of former footballer and TV personality Jimmy Hill, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2008. Three years prior to the onset of the condition, he executed an Enduring Power Of Attorney – the system which preceded LPAs – which appointed his third wife and solicitors as his attorneys.

Following the move, two of Hill’s five children spoke out publicly about the difficulties raised by his condition and the fact they are not involved in decisions related to his care. They also called on people to ensure they talk to their loved ones about their wishes should they lose capacity.