Recent statistics show that the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are bringing, on average, five prosecutions a week for the abuse of powers of attorney.

This shocking statistic goes to show just how significant the problem has become in recent years. Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise to many solicitors working with elderly and vulnerable clients.

According to the figures, investigations launched by the OPG indicate a year- on-year increase: however, the numbers have surged recently. One thousand investigations were launched in the financial year 2017/18 and this number almost doubled in the most recent financial year, to almost 2,000.

There are, of course, two types of power of attorney: one for financial affairs and the other for health and welfare matters. The abuse of powers of attorney is generally in relation to the former. We, at Barrett & Co, have dealt with many such cases. In our experience, there is no typical situation, but we often find that an attorney has mismanaged a donor’s financial affairs because they have cut corners in respect of accounting for the donor’s money; or they have shown little regard for the donor’s wishes or best interests. It is apparent that many attorneys are unaware or choose to ignore the legal obligations required of them.

Sometimes, there are more sinister motives behind an attorney’s actions, and at Barrett & Co we can investigate and hold to account those who behave in such a way; we have a wealth of experience in dealing with these situations. If you wish to speak to someone about concerns that you may have, then please contact us using our contacts below for a confidential discussion.

Alternatively, if you would like advice on your duties and responsibilities as an attorney, then please get in touch. Or, perhaps, you are thinking about making a power of attorney and want to ask some questions to make sure you are putting in place appropriate safeguards, in which case we would be delighted to hear from you.

Get in Touch

For more information on powers of attorney please contact the Private Client team at Barrett & Co on 0118 958 9711 or simply email

Further Reading:

Amending or revoking your Will: The costly consequences

So Are Probate Court Fees Going Up or Not?

Ways to make gifts free of inheritance tax

Shareholders’ Agreement: How it could save you a lot of hassle

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 549694).

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