Inquiries into power of attorney claims surge as families left in limbo

Families are at risk of being caught up in a power of attorney complaints investigation spike that could cause harmful delays to their financial plans, it has emerged.

The Office of the Public Guardian can examine possible abuses of power relating to lasting power of attorneys (LPAs), however, not all of the grievances they receives are not accepted.

The government department for England and Wales carried out 1,886 investigations last year, an increase of 50 per cent from the previous year. However, 3,359 complaints were not accepted for investigation and of the ones that were, only a quarter went to court.

Evete Hall applied for an LPA for her father Peter age 85, last summer after he suffered from a stroke; stating showing signs of dementia; and had to go into care.

Miss Hall subsequently learnt that a complaint had been made against the estate which had led to a delay as she was still awaiting a conclusion from the OPG which aims to complete investigations within 70 days.  She said she didn’t know who had made the complaint but suspected it was made by Peter’s wife to whom she is not related.

She added that she could not gain access to her father’s pension income to pay for his care.

“Debts are racking up and money is going out,” she said. “Even if we get the power of attorney, because of this delay I don’t know how it is all going to pan out.”

Experts said it was crucial families applied for LPAs before their loved ones began to lose mental or physical capacity, to confirm their wishes if any complaint or investigation arose.

For further advice regarding your will and legacy, please contact Barbara Stephens on 01904 528200 or email brs@hethertons.co.uk.