The issue over safeguarding and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) is becoming more relevant with every passing year. In 2007 LPAs were set up, in part, to address concerns over safeguarding the elderly and vulnerable regarding how easy it was to access their finances and in certain cases, commit acts of fraud and theft.
When LPAs were introduced, there were built in safeguards to ensure that the person granting the power was aware of their actions and that they understood the nature of it and the effect of appointing their chosen attorney. Notably these safeguards included the certificate provider, usually a professional such as a doctor or solicitor, and the role of the ‘named person.’ This is a third party individual that would be able step in and object to the granting of an LPA if they had concerns over the person being appointed.
However, over the past 10 years, we have seen several versions of the LPA forms, each further reducing the safeguarding provisions that were considered so important previously. The certificate provider can now be a neighbour with very little idea of the serious implications of the role, and the named person provision has all but been removed.
The danger of the DIY culture in this regard is that the elderly and vulnerable remain largely unprotected. The Office of the Public Guardian’s is determined to go digital in order to bring the legal world into the 21st century. A result of this is making LPAs easier to complete, but the unfortunate intent on influencing a vulnerable relative into granting them financial access is in turn also made easier to do.
The dangers of this approach are of great concern to solicitors and are highlighted in a recent article in New Law Journal, of which Humphries Kirk Partner and Director of SFE Chris Keenan was interviewed. To find out more and read the article, please click here.