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Power of Attorney or Deputyship?

In the same week that a former policeman was convicted of stealing a house and £200,000 from his disabled cousin by abusing a power of attorney in his favour, a judge advanced the case for using a court-appointed deputy to manage the affairs of a person who is no longer able to manage their own, instead of creating a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

It is true that giving a power of attorney (an LPA or the older enduring power of attorney, which is no longer available) over one's financial affairs does carry a risk, because on rare occasions attorneys do abuse their power and deplete the assets of the person who appointed them. The fact that doing so is a criminal offence is likely to be of little comfort as the probability of restitution is normally low.

However, there are ways that risk can be minimised. As well as taking care to ensure you only appoint a trustworthy person to act as your attorney, you can appoint multiple attorneys and ensure that none can act unilaterally. You can appoint a professional attorney (who will have professional indemnity insurance) to act as attorney or co-attorney to make sure that matters are dealt with properly.

The chief disadvantage of making an application to the court to appoint a deputy is that the procedure is rather slower and will normally end up being considerably more expensive to administer over time.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.