As shown on an ITV programme yesterday evening, it is easy to see how someone who is vulnerable can be taken advantage of especially where they have given power over their property and finances to another under an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney.
Once registered, a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and finances allows those appointed as the attorneys to sell property, make decisions regarding investments and deal with day to day finances such as paying bills. The power given to the attorney is extremely wide-ranging. It is therefore essential that the donor appoints someone who they trust implicitly. According to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, there have been 116,559 suspected ‘elderly fraud’ crimes in the last 3 years.
Powers of Attorney can be extremely useful documents, but it is important to take careful advice when setting them up. Safeguards can be included, such as requiring your attorneys to submit annual accounts to another person to have them checked or even audited by an accountant. An advisor can ensure that you are not being unduly influenced and help you if you are feeling under pressure from another to appoint them as your attorney.
By taking action and making decisions about who should act on your behalf if you were to become unable to manage your own finances, you can retain a degree of control over who is appointed and how they should act on your behalf.
If you would like any advice about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney or have questions about a document already in place, a member of our team will be happy to help and skillfully guide you.