Sheep or Wolf? How to Fraud-proof your Lasting Power of Attorney
Article written by David Maxwell, Senior Associate
The untrustworthy individual who abuses a parent’s or elderly neighbour’s power of attorney is a recurring theme in the media and despite a major overhaul of the system several years ago shows little sign of abating.
In fact it is a perennial problem and an unfortunate act of human nature. Nevertheless, as with all risks, it can be managed and minimised and this is where the advice of an experienced lawyer can be invaluable.
Although it may seem obvious, it is worth noting that in the same way that you should always pick individuals you trust to act as trustees when setting up a trust you should also choose attorneys you trust when setting up a power of attorney and not for example simply on the basis of a family relationship. This can be a delicate balance to strike because emotions are often involved and parents do not necessarily want to appear to favour one child over another when appointing their attorneys.
Also, trust can occasionally be misplaced, not only in a child but perhaps in a seemingly helpful neighbour who, apparently, cannot do enough to help.
It is for these reasons amongst others that sitting down with your trusted lawyer and talking through the options, including joint appointments, restrictions on the attorney’s powers and other safeguards is so important.
If you would like to discuss putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney please contact David Maxwell at David.Maxwell@dwfmbeckman.com or Glen Bayliss at Glen.Bayliss@dwfmbeckman.com or by telephone on 020 7408 8888.