Solicitor Wendy Scarr appeared on BBC Radio York last night to talk about power of attorney with presenter Jules Bellerby. A former Court of Protection Judge publicly warned people against using power of attorney and claimed he would not appoint anyone to this position for himself.
These appointments are made so that someone will look after the finances of a person who is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Retired Judge Denzil Lush has recently claimed the lack of safeguards in place in power of attorney cases opens up the possibility that people will use them for their own financial gain. BBC Radio York cited an example of such a thing happening locally to a Dunkirk veteran who suffered from dementia.
Wendy told Bellerby that Lush was the expert in this area, so his criticisms should be taken seriously. She wondered if more steps should to be taken to put some safeguards in place. Wendy explained that such measures used to exist in power of attorney cases. For example, certain named individuals, such as immediate family members, had to be notified of any application and they were able to raise an objection before this power was granted if they did not believe the nominated person would act in their loved one’s best interests. This would be a good thing to reintroduce, Wendy suggested.
She also said that deputyship applications could be an alternative. These work similarly to powers of attorney but are appointed by the Court of Protection once a person no longer has the mental capacity to name someone. However, she also pointed out that these applications can be lengthy, onerous and expensive for the families who want to appoint a deputy.
The full interview is available on the BBC iPlayer here for the next few weeks and begins at 01:09:20.