A man has pleaded guilty to stealing approximately £70,000 from his mother. His mother was suffering from Alzheimers Disease and, prior to her losing mental capacity, had not made arrangements for anyone to manage her financial affairs. Her son took advantage of his mother’s illness, fraudulently preparing a power of attorney which purported to give him the authority to deal his mother’s finances; over a five year period he used his mother’s money to pay his debts. The son has been granted bail prior to his sentencing, however he has been warned by the judge to expect a jail sentence.
The best way to ensure that your interests are protected if you do lose mental capacity is to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’). You are able to choose people who you trust to manage your property and affairs if you are not able to do so yourself. Several different people have to sign the LPA (one of whom is often a solicitor or a doctor), which vastly reduces the possibility of the document being created fraudulently.
Once your LPA is registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, the OPG will investigate any suggestion that your attorney is not acting in your best interests. If their investigations conclude that the attorney is acting improperly (intentionally or otherwise) there are various options available to the OPG, ranging from supervising the attorney to making an application to the Court of Protection to have the attorney replaced by someone more suitable.
It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself, your chosen person will make these decisions for you.
An LPA can reduce problems that may occur in the future and it can be more expensive and time-consuming for family or friends to try to gain a similar power. You can speak to one of our solicitors on 01274 377667 to book an appointment or find out more.