The continuing threat to the older population when appointing an attorney whom they trust to look after them is ever-growing.
Over the past year, there has been an influx in the number of people, in trusted positions, exploiting the people they should be protecting from financial harm.
The Government carried out almost 50% more investigations concerning abuse complaints regarding lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in 2018.
In total, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) received 5,245 claims that attorneys were abusing their donor’s finances last year – this is more claims of abuse than the OPG has ever had to deal with.
In the past year, there have been numerous cases of donor abuse, whereby not only did the attorney abuse their position and treat the donor’s wealth as their own but charities also potentially lost out on legacy gifts too. In one case well-known charities lost £25,000 after an attorney exploited its position. Another attorney was on trial for acting dishonestly as he was accused of fraudulently stealing a donor’s son inheritance.
With the Office for National Statistics ‘Overview of the UK Population: July 2017’ reporting the UK population is getting older with 18% aged 65 and over and 2.4% aged 85 and over, along with mental incapacity – has meant financial abuse of this vulnerable group is on the increase.
Furthermore, modern lifestyles have led to an increase in blended families and second marriages, which can also cause additional conflict when attorneys are chosen.