Martin Lewis, a widely recognised financial expert, recently emphasised the vital importance of appointing a power of attorney. On various platforms including his ITV show, podcast, and social media, he voiced concern that many people underestimate the value of this legal tool, while mistakenly believing their current asset protection is sufficient.
Lewis’s concern stems from “only about 12% of individuals have set up a power of attorney”. This figure came to light following a survey he conducted among his audience. He pointed out that many people have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role and significance of a power of attorney.
For example, one individual believed that having a next of kin designated for life insurance purposes negated the need for a power of attorney. Lewis was quick to correct this misconception, explaining that a power of attorney is crucial for managing affairs and finances in case of incapacitation.
Lewis, who has had a power of attorney since his 30s, assures that it’s a measure of foresight, not a surrender of autonomy. He stresses that it’s a safeguard, allowing appointed individuals to step in only if necessary, thereby avoiding the complex and costly process of court intervention. Jonathan Maskew, from CTT Group said:
“I agree with Martin Lewis, the LPA is an essential ingredient of effective wealth management and many simply don’t understand the value of them…It is very much a case of more prevention and less cure, and in my circumstances you hear the ‘if only I knew’ !”
Powers of Attorney have been serving the public for many years, they are powerful legal documents which allow an individual (‘donor’) to appoint a person of their own choice (an ‘attorney’), to look after their affairs should they at a later stage no longer wish to make these decisions, or lack the capacity to manage their affairs themselves.”
The Powers of Attorney Act passed its third reading in the House of Lords in September and received Royal Assent which meant that reforms designed to transition the process of creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) from a largely paper-based process to a digital one are to be enacted. Maskew added:
“The Office for Public Guardian have acknowledged the growing need to ensure the process for registering an LPA is digital following both the growing demand and the understanding how important these are to so many.”