The rise of rogue attorneys and deputies calls for professional advice when choosing your attorneys

Thursday 15th November 2018

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has reported that in the financial year 2017/18 it investigated the actions of 1,729 rogue attorneys and deputies, a 44 per cent year-on-year increase compared to the previous year.

The investigations undertaken by the OPG were in relation to an abuse of power by either attorneys (appointed under either an enduring or lasting power of attorney) or a court-appointed deputy. Every case involved the financial abuse of a vulnerable person who lacked the ability to manage their own affairs.

It is extremely important that people are not deterred from setting up a lasting power of attorney following the release of this information. It is vital that when you do create one of these documents, you take the correct advice to ensure that you have given sufficient thought as to who should act as your attorneys. You should also consider the implications of the power that you are giving away and the consequences for you both personally and financially before you make this choice.

Once you have sought advice, you may wish to consider appointing an appropriate professional advisor as an attorney so that they can act in an independent capacity. This is by no means a necessity but is sometimes a useful solution for clients and provides reassurance that such individuals are bound by their own higher professional obligations when carrying out this role.

If you are an attorney or deputy who is concerned about what steps you should take to ensure that you are carrying out your role correctly to reduce the risk of being on the receiving end of an investigation by the Office of the Public Guardian, you should also seek professional advice.

If you would like any assistance with creating a lasting power of attorney, or if you are an attorney or deputy with concerns about the obligations you must fulfil in your role, please contact Greg Dixon.