The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has updated its guidance on attorneys appointing discretionary investment managers. This is a welcome change which has been campaigned for by professional organisations for some time.

Lasting powers of attorneys (LPAs) are a legal document which allows an adult (donor) to appoint others (attorneys) to assist them with financial and / or health and welfare decisions if they could no longer make those decisions themselves or required assistance.

Previously, unless an express clause was included in a financial LPA the attorneys did not have the power to appoint a discretionary investment manager to manage the investments of the donor. Typically, the attorney would lack the skills and knowledge to manage the financial affairs of the donor effectively without expert advice and assistance. Also, it led to difficulties if an existing investment manager was underperforming or retired, as a replacement could not be appointed.

The necessity to include an express clause was not well publicised and many LPAs were prepared which unintentionally gave attorneys limited powers. If the doner still had capacity, they could prepare a new LPA containing the clause or if they had lost capacity the attorney could apply to the Court of Protection for permission to instruct a discretionary investment manager. Both options incurred legal costs, fees and delay, whilst preventing any urgent financial action being taken.

If you would like any advice on LPAs or any of the issues raised in this article, then you can contact our Specialist Private Client team on 01524 846846