Lasting Powers of Attorney: How can I prevent my attorney stealing my money?

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The problem of dishonest attorneys is in the news again. The latest report to hit the press involves an attorney who stole £194k from his mother who was suffering from dementia. Are Lasting Powers of Attorney vulnerable to fraud?

“Cunning” attorney jailed for financial abuse

An attorney who was jailed for five-and-a-half years for stealing his mother’ life savings was described as “cunning, depraved and incredibly selfish” in court.

The attorney abused his position by selling his mother’s property when she went into a nursing home after being diagnosed with dementia. He then bought a flat with the proceeds and pocketed the rent he received.

Over a three year period he stole his mother’s life savings of nearly £200,000. He admitted taking £91,786 but denied stealing the rest.

Lasting Powers of Attorney open to abuse

The court heard that the son held joint power of attorney over his mother’s financial affairs with his sister. He was able to convince his sister that the money was to pay their mother’s nursing home fees.

His assets have now been confiscated to repay what he stole and a new attorney has been appointed.

The case echoes the warnings of  retired senior judge, Denzil Lush, who has recently warned how powers of attorney can be abused.

Can anything be done to prevent this kind of abuse?

There is no doubt that Lasting Powers of Attorney have an important role to play and we should all consider making one.

However, they can be vulnerable to abuse by dishonest attorneys. The choice of attorney is therefore a vital one and care needs to be exercised.

Where people are concerned about the risk of abuse one option is for them to appoint a solicitor to act as a joint attorney.

We have solicitors at Slee Blackwell who can be appointed as an attorney and this can act as a safeguard to prevent financial abuse from taking place.

If you wish to make a Lasting Power of attorney and would like to appoint a Slee Blackwell solicitor to oversee your affairs to ensure that there is no foul play then give us a call on 01272 372128 or drop us an email at [email protected]