How do you report an Attorney?
As more and more Powers of Attorney are granted, it’s likely, a very small minority of cases might give cause for concern.
What you do about these depends very much on the type of Power of Attorney and the nature of the complaint. The two most common Powers of Attorney, In Scotland, are the Welfare Power of Attorney and the Financial Power of Attorney – and these can be combined into one document which is called a Financial and Welfare Power of Attorney.
To be clear, we are dealing here with Powers of Attorney granted to deal with the affairs of people domiciled or resident in Scotland.
As the names suggest, a Welfare Power of Attorney is granted to allow the attorney to deal with issues relating to the granter’s welfare whilst a Financial Power of Attorney is granted to allow the attorney to deal with the granter’s financial needs. Clearly, a Financial and Welfare Power of Attorney allows the attorney to deal with the granter’s financial and welfare needs. In each instance, the Power of Attorney needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), however, after registration, there is no further supervision requirement. To read more about the role of the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) • please click here.
The importance of Trust
The perceived wisdom when dealing with Powers of Attorney is that the granter trusts the person or people in whose favour the Power of Attorney has been granted. The Power of Attorney sets down the attorney’s powers and the obligations placed on them. However, in some instances things can go wrong and, if they do, steps need to be taken to rectify the position.
Each of the types of Power of Attorney has to be dealt with differently
If the issues concern the welfare of the granter with the attorney failing to address those issues, the correct route to address this would be to lodge a complaint with the local authority in the area where the granter lives. The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) doesn’t deal with welfare or healthcare issues. In addition to the local authority, concerns can be reported to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland who protect and promote the human rights of people with mental illness, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions. You can visit their website by • clicking here.
If such a report is well founded, the local authority can step in and/or apply to the sheriff to ensure the granter’s welfare is properly looked after.
Of the issue of concern is of a financial nature, the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) can address such issue. If someone has a concern about the financial acting of the attorney, they can follow the procedure outlined on the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website. • You’ll find that here.
You fill in a form detailing your concerns and submit that to the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). They then investigate it and if they find the granters estate is at risk, they can then take a number of steps including contacting the granter’s bank to freeze the account through to reporting the attorney to the police if there’s a suspicion of fraud. The full range of powers can be • found here.
As we stated at the outset, it is the rare occasion where steps have to be taken to report an attorney – but if such an instance occurs, there are procedures that can be followed to protect the individual who granted the Power of Attorney.
“Trust is important because it is the basis around which all human relationships revolve.”Unknown
We recommend that every adult should have in place an up-to-date Will and a Power of Attorney.
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