At times, even the most trustworthy people can turn their backs on you, especially when there is money involved. Many cases arise in which agents misuse their Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA and exploit the donor for personal financial gain. In such cases, steps can be taken to ensure that the offender is held responsible for their wrongdoings. In fact, the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA who commits abuse can serve jail time. In this guide, we help you to understand what abuse of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA is and what legal actions can be taken to penalise the attorney at fault.
Abuse of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA: An Overview
There are many types of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA abuse. To evaluate whether the designated attorney is abusing their power, you need to ask certain questions, including:
- Is the agent acting within the scope of ability provided to them?
- Is the agent acting in the best interests of the principal?
If an attorney is working beyond the expected Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA responsibilities granted to them or not acting in the best interest of the principal, then they are abusing their power.
In some situations, individuals may suffer from serious health issues and may decide to appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA to handle financial and welfare matters on their behalf. However, this also proves to be an ideal situation for predators to take advantage of the power given to them and withdraw funds for their benefit. Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA abusers may transfer property into their name, remove the principal’s belongings, use the donor’s money for their benefit, or exploit their position in other ways.
Penalties To Impose For The Abuse Of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA
If you find out that an attorney is abusing their power, you can have them removed. When the donor is incapacitated, you need a court order to remove the attorney; the process for this differs from state to state. The first step is to present some constructive evidence of the use to the judges. Along with removal, you can also charge a lawsuit against the abuser and recover the financial loss they cause.
There are different kinds of civil claims that you can extend on behalf of the donor, which include fraud, conversion, fiduciary duty, and undue influence. If the donor is an elderly individual, you can select additional charge claims that provide a higher penalty for abuse of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA.
The punishment for misuse of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA is up to ten years in prison; however, this extended prison sentence is generally reserved for the most serious cases. For standard abuse cases, the abuser can expect to spend two-to-five years in prison. The fine depends entirely on the type of abuse that has taken place and state legislation. In some cases, the offender also has to conduct unpaid community services.
Real-Life Case Example
Lynne Waddle was offered the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA over Ralph McAlpine, her father after he had to move into a care home. McAlpine had savings of £100,000, which he left in the care of his daughter so she could meet his care needs. However, Lynne Waddle withdrew the cash for her personal use over three years. During this time, McAlpine owed £17,000 to the care home.
Eventually, the daughter pleaded guilty and admitted that she had taken over £70,000 from the savings. Lynne was sentenced to two years in prison and was told to do 100 hours of unpaid work. This case highlights the vulnerability of the senior and the abuse carried out by the attorney, who was, typically, a close member of the family.
Tips On Dealing With The Risk Of Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA Abuse
Taking necessary measures at the right time can help you mitigate repercussions from the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA misuse. Here are some important tips that will help you reduce the risks associated with the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA fraud:
- Choose an Agent That You Personally Know
The first step is to ensure the person signing as the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA is someone whom you can trust. Typically, family members are the ones who abuse their powers. So even within your family, you should be careful about whom you choose as an attorney.
- Consider Choosing Limited Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA to Provide your Agent with Specific Power
When setting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA (POA), for more control, consider opting for a limited Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA. This can be either made to manage your financial assets or health and welfare matters. It is up to you to decide what power you want to provide the attorney. An LPA comes into effect when the donor loses the mental capacity to make decisions on their own. Until that time, you are able to monitor the actions of the attorney and be rest assured that they are considering your best interests.
- Appoint Someone to Monitor the Transactions of Your Attorney
If you do not implicitly trust the executor you have appointed, the law gives you the option to appoint a monitor who can oversee the POA’s activities. The monitor has the right to receive records of financial transactions made by the POA. The monitor can also request a copy of the POA paperwork.
- If you Notice Abuse, Revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA.
Even if you have appointed someone very close and trustworthy, it is important that you must keep an eye on their activities. If you find them acting suspiciously, you have the right to revoke the POA. However, it can only happen when the donor still has the legal capacity to do so. You have to send the original POA along with a written statement known as a deed of revocation to the Office of the Public Guardian. The deed should be dated and signed by the donor and should also include the sign and address of the witness.
Providing the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA to someone gives them a lot of power over your financial assets. When there is an abuse of this power, the victim typically needs assistance from government authorities or courts to recover their financial losses. Hiring a professional to draw up your POA will make sure that the document complies with the state requirements. In addition, a lawyer may also help in avoiding the occurrence of abuse by setting a Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA who restricts the authority of the attorney or enables third parties to monitor them.
My Estate Planning is a reliable company in the UK that can help you draft a personalised POA. The company’s proficient team members will answer all your concerns and help you set up a secure POA to minimise the risk of abuse. The company offers a wide range of packages that allow clients to avail a personalised service that aligns with their distinctive requirements and financial limitations. When you join hands with reliable professionals, you can rest assured that your documents will be completed with all the requisites efficiently and promptly.
My Estate Planning is a service provider that envisions safeguarding your future. The company has been assisting clients in setting different legal documents for many years. The services they provide will ensure that your financial assets and your health and welfare, are taken care of by someone you trust. Services offered by My Estate Planning include will and testament, living trust, lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA, funeral plans, inheritance and tax planning, severance of tenancy, protective will property trusts, and probate.
To acquire POA services, all you have to do is go to the official website, select the price package, and the team will get in touch with you. Once you have shared all your requirements and received satisfactory answers to your queries, the team will set-up a bespoke POA for you within a given timeframe. From complying with legal guidelines, getting the documents signed by concerned parties, submitting the documents, and making changes (if necessary in the future), the team will handle all of these tasks on your behalf.
For reliable and efficient services, get in touch with My Estate Planning today.