Bissmah Tariq (Student)
The Government’s Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) have announced a drastic rise in investigations into people with Lasting Power of Attorney over the 2017/18 period.
There have been many complaints of Lasting Power of Attorney misuse with a drastic rise in investigations of 45% over the past year. The majority of the investigations were carried out due to concerns from close relatives, local authorities, care homes, financial institutions and legal professionals.
Friends and relatives often accept the responsibility to make financial or health decisions on behalf of relatives or friends who no longer have the mental capacity to do so.
Since many do not fully understand what they are getting themselves into, this has led to people either accidentally or deliberately making mistakes such as not keeping clear records and wrongly gifting or taking money.
Royal London, which obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request, strongly encourage people to educate themselves on their responsibilities when they agree to act under a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Helen Morrissey, personal finance specialist at the insurance and pensions firm, said: “When done properly the attorneys fulfil a vital role in safeguarding the interests of the person they are acting for. But the sheer number of investigations into their actions is concerning and something needs to be done to curb poor practice.”
Someone agreeing to be appointed under a lasting power of attorney has a legal duty to help make important life decisions on behalf of the individual even when he/she lacks mental capacity. It is strongly recommended that you keep clear and well written records and bank statements as evidence of expenditure to protect your position.
For further advice on powers of attorney please contact SULAC (Staffordshire University Legal advice clinic. Our team of academics and qualified and experienced Solicitors have experience in this particular area and can provide you with free legal advice. Please call 01782 294800 for an appointment.