Power of attorney system leaves mental health sufferers open to abuse

The current power of attorney system designed to protect the elderly and the vulnerable is exposing people with mental health issues to financial abuse and is not fit for purpose, a charity has said. 

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, founded by money-saving guru Martin Lewis in 2016, has called on the Government to reform the regime and make mental health a priority in its much-anticipated social care green paper.  

The news comes as mental health issues increasingly move from the margins to the mainstream of public discourse, spearheaded by celebrity-endorsed campaigns. 

The report found mental health sufferers were resorting to “risky quick-fixes” when dealing with their financial affairs, asking for help from friends and family rather than setting up formal power of attorney or other third-party agreements.

‘Two fifths give out bank details’

Today, 11 million people suffer from mental health problems.

A representative survey found that two fifths of people with poor mental health have allowed someone else to use their credit or debit card, while one in five have provided passwords and allowed a third-party to log into their online banking, leaving them exposed to potential fraud or abuse. This is taking place on a weekly basis in many cases, the report said.