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Powers of attorney risks: can you prevent abuse?

In a recent interview, retired Court of Protection Judge Denzil Lush warned against the lack of safeguards in the power of attorney system.

Whilst it is correct to say the system doesn’t automatically impose enough barriers against abuse, having a Lasting Power of attorney in place is still important. We always recommend the following steps are taken to help minimise the risk of abuse to you and others:

1. Think carefully about who you appoint as attorney – if in doubt do not appoint; 2. Do not sign any documents prepared by relatives or friends which you do not fully understand – if in doubt don’t sign and always take your own legal advice; 3. If abuse is suspected, seek legal advice and consider revoking the power of attorney; 4. If you have concerns about abuse of powers of attorney in relation to a friend or relative contact the Court of Protection and express your concern; 5. Use a legal professional when preparing Powers of Attorney – this will ensure you make an informed decision and that additional safeguards are in place such as:

• We will never release certified copies of your power of attorney without your consent (your attorneys need certified copies to be able to deal with your assets); • We will take your instructions as to whether we should seek evidence of lack of capacity if this alleged by your attorneys before we release certified copies of the power of attorney; and • We will remind you that you can revoke your power of attorney at any time whilst you have capacity

Please contact us on  01202 802 807 for a free no obligation appointment.

Alexandra Livesey – Private Client Solicitor

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