Rules granting other people control over your money when you are elderly or infirm are open to abuse. We highlight one sobering case
With Britain’s population ageing fast and greater numbers of people unable to control their finances unassisted, a record 250,000 powers of attorney are being registered each year. The attorney system enables family members and others to take legitimate control of someone else’s affairs.
The relevant government authority – the Office of the Public Guardian – is struggling to keep pace, and registrations of new attorneys currently take more than three months to process. A spokesman told the Telegraph’s Your Money it was “recruiting additional staff” and the processing period would “shortly” be reduced to eight weeks.
The increase in numbers of attorneys is resulting in more disputes among families. The will, trust and estate division of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, for instance, has experienced a 75pc increase in attorney-related disputes in 12 months. And at the Financial Ombudsman Service, which arbitrates disputes between individuals and finance firms, new complaints concerning powers of attorney are up by 40pc since the beginning of 2013 and running at 35 a month.