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5 May 2017

Wills and LPAs: Why the “DIY” approach might cost you in the long run

The team at Steeles Law was pleased to note coverage in today's Eastern Daily Press, in which well-known television presenter and founder of MoneySavingExpert.com Martin Lewis advised that every adult should look at getting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

In the article, Mr Lewis highlights his concern that fewer than one in six adults in the UK have an LPA in place and points out the potential risks that this brings – from “locking down” your assets, should you lose mental capacity, to “stopping your family paying for your care”.

As experienced legal practitioners in this area, we know only too well the potential pitfalls of not putting your affairs in order.  We also know that, for many, it can be tempting to put off thinking about Wills and LPAs – because they can raise emotionally difficult topics; because we do not consider ourselves to be “old”; or simply because we do not have the time.

Commenting on Mr Lewis’ article, our specialist team said:

“It is great to see Martin Lewis raising awareness of the importance and value of LPAs in the national and regional press.

However, Steeles Law, whose wills and probate team includes members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), would like to reiterate that LPAs are extremely important documents and putting them in place should not be considered a simple form-filling exercise.  A specialist legal adviser will not simply complete a form for the donor of an LPA but also provide a full service of oral and written advice, usually both to the donor and the chosen attorneys, and will be able to give that advice based on their knowledge of the law and experience of working with vulnerable and incapable adults and their families.

Whilst using a “DIY” method over using a solicitor may be cheaper in the short term, a recent study by SFE found that after receiving a consultation with a specialist solicitor, all participants said they felt more confident about their ability to make informed and appropriate choices, and most of them made significant changes to the decisions expressed in their LPAs.  The SFE study also showed that DIY methods carry a great deal of risk through potential repercussions of weaknesses or flaws in the document itself, and a lack of consideration or checks to safeguard for vulnerable donors.”

For further advice, please contact us.