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Commission in call to tighten up on powers of attorney

13 February 2012

Better guidance is needed in relation to powers of attorney in Scotland, according to the Mental Welfare Commission.

The Commission has raised the issue after an investigation into the case of a couple who granted a power of attorney in favour of the husband's brother, who then ran up over £10,000 in debt in the couple's name.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Donald Lyons, the commission's director, said that neither the local authority concerned nor the Office of the Public Guardian had done enough to investigate. He said the Commission believed this was due to "a flawed understanding of the law and of what incapacity needs".

He called for better training for those involved in allowing carers to take on the welfare or financial affairs of other adults, and for the Scottish Government to revise its guidance on how to implement the law.

The role of solicitors is also under scrutiny. Adrian Ward, convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Mental Health and Disability Committee, said solicitors needed guidance from the Commission on how to pick on when undue influence might be going on, or when a person might appear to have capacity when they did not.

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