The Taylor&Emmet Blog

Senior Judge Warns of Dangers of Powers of Attorney

Senior Judge Warns of Dangers of Powers of AttorneyDenzil Lush, the former Senior Judge of the Court of Protection has warned about the dangers of granting Lasting Powers Of Attorney to friends or relatives and has vowed that he would never sign one.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document by which a person nominates others (their “attorneys”) to manage their affairs in the event that they become incapable of doing so in the future.

However, the Judge criticised the Ministry Of Justice’s promotion of LPA’s as they frequently lead to suspicion and acrimony between families and leave the victim open to the risk of financial abuse from the Attorney.

The difficulty is that complete control of the person’s financial affairs, including all their bank accounts, is handed over to the attorney who is supposed to manage the person’s finances in their best interests and for their benefit only. The former Judge criticised the lack of proper safeguards, as there is no requirement for accounts to be kept or filed, and if concerned family members raise suspicions, the attorney is not required to provide evidence confirming everything is being dealt with correctly.

Lush suggested that the alternative, a Deputy being appointed by the Court to manage a person’s affairs was far preferable, as this brought with it a duty to lodge accounts with the Court and the requirement to pay a safety deposit bond. However, such orders can only be made after a person has lost capacity and therefore limit the extent to which a person’s wishes should be taken into account.

What if I am already concerned about an attorney?

There are steps that can be taken if you are concerned about an attorney. A report to the Office of the Public Guardian, can lead to enquiries being undertaken. Applications to the court can also be made seeking conditions or an attorneys removal. However, such actions can be a procedural minefield and it is recommended that you take expert legal advice before commencing any action.

Alex Watkinson
Alex Watkinson

At Taylor & Emmet, we have a team who specialise in this field and are happy to advise people who may require a Power of Attorney (Attorneys or Deputies) as well as relatives or friends who may have concerns.

If you have any queries, please contact partner Alex Watkinson on 0114 218 4000 or email alex.watkinson@tayloremmet.co.uk for an initial chat.

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