Court action against people acting with power of attorney on behalf of vulnerable people jumped to record levels last year.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) made 721 applications to the Court of Protection to censure or remove attorneys in 2018/19. That was 55% up from the previous year’s total of 465. Two of the main reasons for having attorneys removed were that they did not act in the vulnerable person’s best interests and that they made improper gifts.
In addition to these actions, the OPG launched 2,883 safeguarding investigations in 2018/19. This was 54% more than the previous year’s 1,871.
Jane Whitfield, a specialist in Powers of Attorney matters at Barrett and Co Solicitors, said:
“It is worrying that the OPG is getting reports from relatives, care homes and local authorities on such an increasing scale. However, there is only so much they can do. It’s likely there are more cases that should be investigated. Often, abuse doesn’t come to light until after the person has died.”
“What does concern me is that there are many tens of thousands of self-registered Powers of Attorney. This is where they have been registered without any professional advice from solicitors. This can lead to problems because the right questions are not being asked and the right safeguards not put in place. It’s likely the number of complaints underestimates the true scale of the problem.”
“With a Power of Attorney, being as important as a Will, it really is worth paying the price to get a specialist solicitor to arrange the legal documentation and register it. It is the best way to prevent any issues and safeguard vulnerable people when they need looking after.”
For information about Power of Attorney, please call Jane Whitfield – Tel 0118 958 9711