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Power of Attorney – financial abuse on the rise

By December 6, 2016January 29th, 2021Private Client

The number of new arrangements registered has rapidly increased in recent years but figures now show an even quicker rise in the numbers of “attorneys” being investigated and even discharged for misconduct.
Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that in 2013, 68 attorneys and deputies, essentially attorneys appointed by the Court of Protection, were removed because of financial mismanagement or alleged theft.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a very useful way of making sure that someone can handle your financial affairs if you can’t do it yourself, but they are not free from risks.Over the last few years the number of people making LPAs has increased, but so has the number of investigations by the Court into misuse of the power, potentially allowing the attorney to take advantage of a vulnerable person.We see many cases where clients have lost significant amounts of money at the hands of the people they trusted, and this highlights how important it is to get it right when you make your power of attorney. Sadly, for some people the temptation to use someone else’s money for themselves is just too great. You should choose people you trust and who you think will act appropriately, you can also limit the decisions they can make, or insist that more than one person has to be involved in the decisions. These steps can help to protect your assets from being misused in the future.When making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or if you need to act for someone who can’t make decisions for themselves, taking advice about who to appoint and the ways you can limit their powers may prevent problems from arising in the future.

Chris Burrows

Author Chris Burrows

Chris is a Senior Solicitor and is head of the firm's Private Client department.

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