England: Lasting power of attorney system ‘open to abuse’ due to lack of checks
The lasting power of attorney system in England and Wales is open to fraud due to a lack of routine identity checks, a BBC investigation has found.
A fraudster was granted genuine lasting power of attorney over a woman’s financial affairs using fake names and forged signatures, according to the investigation by You and Yours on BBC Radio 4.
After the lasting power of attorney application was granted by the Office of the Public Guardian, which did not carry out any identity checks, the fraudster tried to sell the woman’s home without her knowledge.
The victim, named in the programme as ‘Marie’, was forced to engage a firm of solicitors to prevent the loss of her home.
The Office of the Public Guardian later removed the lasting power of attorney from the register and reported the matter to police.
The Ministry of Justice told the BBC it is in the process of reforming the lasting power of attorney system, having recently closed a consultation on the issue.