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Government plans to introduce electronic lasting powers of attorney (LPA) have been postponed after concerns were raised by professional bodies about the risks of fraud and undue pressure.

So, for the foreseeable future an LPA has to be created the old fashioned way – by being physically signed! These are powerful documents, so to ensure your LPA does exactly what you want it to do, we advise you to have the documents professionally-drafted and tailored to your individual needs.

You will need to think carefully about your choice of attorney (or attorneys) because he or she will be able to make decisions on your behalf. Where more than one attorney is appointed, you can appoint them jointly, jointly and severally (which means they can act together or independent of one another) or a hybrid of the two. Crucially, the power to use them continues even if mental capacity is lost. Therefore it is important to obtain professional advice about their scope and power before you sign one.

There are two types of LPA, one that deals with decisions about property and financial affairs, while the other concerns health and welfare decision making. The powers that an attorney can have include the ability to sell your house, access bank accounts, sell or acquire investments or even make decisions about the consent or refusal of life-sustaining treatment.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that an attorney must act in the best interests of the donor (the person who creates the power). There are important safeguards in place in the creation and registration of an LPA to reduce the risks of abuse or fraud.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.