Cases involving the misuse of powers of attorney are turning up frequently in the courts and illustrate the wisdom of making sure that any person you appoint to act as an attorney to manage your affairs should you no longer be able to do so yourself is trustworthy and that there are appropriate safeguards over and/or supervision of their activities.
Recently, the Court of Protection heard an application by the Public Guardian to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) given by an elderly woman to her former gardener in 2011. The woman is resident in a care home.
After concerns about the conduct of the attorney had been raised, it was discovered that, in early 2013, he had sold the woman's house for £165,000 and put the proceeds into an account in his own name. He had also made himself a 'gift' of some £38,000 in late 2012.
On further investigation, there were a number of other unexplained transactions which benefited the gardener and his family, and it was discovered that he had awarded himself a 'salary' out of her assets.
Having reviewed the evidence, the Court was satisfied that the attorney had behaved in a way that both contravened his authority and was not in the woman's best interests.
Accordingly, the LPA was revoked.