A retired senior judge has warned of the lack of safeguards in the power of attorney system in England and Wales.
Denzil Lush says people should be far more aware of the risks and has vowed to never sign one himself.
The power of attorney is a legal document, which allows someone to make financial or welfare decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so.
Last year, almost 650,000 applications were made to register the document and there are 2.5m currently registered.
A power of attorney can, Mr Lush warns, have a “devastating” effect on family relationships.
For 20 years he was the senior judge in the Court of Protection, which looks after the interests of people who do not have the capacity to look after themselves.
Mr Lush, the author of the definitive legal guide to this area, has adjudicated in 6,000 power of attorney cases.