10th October 2017

Lasting Powers of Attorney: more applications but, an alert about fraud

There has been a 30% rise in the number of Lasting Power Attorney applications for registration received between April and June compared to the same period in 2016.

This increase is driven in part, by a growing awareness of the attractions of Lasting Powers of Attorney as opposed to, say, a Deputyship Application once a person has lost mental capacity. The introduction of the on-line application has also increased accessibility. However, this increase in accessibility comes at a significant cost.

The recent paper from the Financial Conduct Authority, suggested that a Lasting Power of Attorney should be possible to grant on-line and they should not require a wet ink signature of the donor, a witness to that signature, or the presence of a Certificate Provider. All of these checks and balances, when used in an intelligent manner, can provide protection against inappropriate Attorneys being appointed through a mistake, fraud or undue influence who may then use the document improperly or commit fraud. That is not to say that the wet ink signature version is entirely safe because no system is. Fraudsters are usually sophisticated when it comes to how such fraud is ‘stage managed’. Even the use of a professional such as a solicitor experienced in elderly client matters, is not total proof against the more sophisticated fraudster who may well put on a very good front with the aged victim. That having been said, solicitors who commonly act in the elderly client practice area, do have the experience to spot many such attempts. Accordingly, the additional costs which come from using a professional, are perhaps small change in comparison to the financial risks should an unsuitable Attorney assist an elderly person in making a Lasting Power of Attorney and then use it inappropriately, with potentially costly consequences, such as significant bank account withdrawals and even the sale of property.

For more details and to book your appointment to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney and your own circumstances and how we can help you, contact:

Tunbridge Wells Office: Lucy Head on Tel: 01892 502 372 or email lhead@bussmurton.co.uk

East Grinstead Office: Kristy Underwood on Tel: 01892 502 312 kunderwood@bussmurton.co.uk

Cranbrook Office: Kerry Carter on Tel: 01892 502 304 kcarter@bussmurton.co.uk

Dartford Office: Noleen Mair on Tel: 01892 502 307 nmair@bussmurton.co.uk

Edward Walter

Edward Walter