Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are a sensible means of ensuring that your affairs are kept in order and your welfare is provided for if you lose the capacity to make important decisions for yourself. Your natural assumption may be that such powers should be exercised by your loved ones but, as a High Court case recently reviewed by Anne Caswell showed, there are often sound reasons for appointing a professional to perform the role.
A woman who was aged in her 80s and in the early stages of dementia executed two LPAs by which she appointed her four daughters as her attorneys in respect of her health, welfare, property and affairs. Three of them signed the documents and sought to formally register them with the Public Guardian. The fourth, however, refused to sign them and objected to their registration.
Ruling on the dispute, the Court noted that the woman underwent an expert medical assessment prior to making the LPAs and it was presumed that she had the mental capacity required to make them. Her condition having since deteriorated, however, she now lacked capacity either to change the LPAs or to execute new ones.