OLDHAM solicitor Joanne Jones has defended lasting powers of attorney (LPA) after Denzil Lush, 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, Joanne Jones a solicitor for Pearson Legal and a member of national organisation Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), 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,” she said.
“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.”
SFE is an independent, national organisation which provides specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
SFE has been campaigning to ensure essential checks and controls are conducted when making an LPA.
To find out more about LPAs and and to find a solicitor near you, go to: http://www.sfe.legal