It has been reported that there were nearly 13,000 investigations of potential financial abuse by the Care Quality Commission (the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England) between 2013 and June 2017. This is an extremely worrying statistic, as with increasing life expectancy and a growing elderly population, it is likely that these types of cases involving financial abuse may also rise.
It is important to mention that most Attorneys do a good job and that Lasting Powers of Attorney can be an effective way of ensuring that, should you become mentally incapable of making certain decisions, there is someone who can assist you with a wide variety of issues, ranging from payment of your bills to liaising with medical practitioners about your future care.
There are also legal safeguards in place which can reduce the possibility of someone being able to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Generally, Attorneys are accountable to the Court of Protection and must provide information to them when requested to do so.
When things do go wrong with Attorneys, it is usually because the Attorney is acting alone, their conduct goes unchecked or the person appointed is simply not the right person for the role. Some problems with Lasting Powers of Attorney can also stem from a lack of planning at the time when they are made. It is therefore important to obtain specialist legal advice and also to consider carefully who are going to be appointed as your Attorneys, given the level of power you are potentially handing over to them in the future.
Remember that there are ways to try and restrict the level of power granted by Lasting Powers of Attorney. For example, if you are worried about an Attorney possibly abusing their position, it is possible imply various restrictions within the Lasting Powers of Attorney. You can also appoint a mixture of both professional and non-professional Attorneys, for example, a solicitor and/or a family member who will understand your day-to-day needs.
One of the key points to remember with a Lasting Power of Attorney is that it allows you to choose who you want to act as your Attorney and it can provide significant peace of mind knowing that someone you have selected can later take over the management of your affairs or help you with making certain decisions, should they need to do so.
By instructing us to assist you in the preparation of your Lasting Power of Attorney, you will have the peace of mind that you have created a valid and enforceable Lasting Power of Attorney that avoids any problems which may arise in the future.