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Attorney, Deputy & Court of Protection Disputes

It is always a difficult time when a loved one becomes incapable of looking after their own affairs. Sadly, issues can arise regarding how that person’s affairs are managed when they need to be placed in the hands of a third party.


Powers of attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until the person granting it has become mentally incapacitated and the Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered. 

If there is a dispute about the Lasting Power of Attorney, for example where there are questions over the circumstances surrounding the granting of the Power, the attorney’s suitability, or where there are issues about the Attorney’s management of the donor’s affairs, the expert team at Eric Robinson Solicitors can advise you and help you to resolve matters.

Court of Protection disputes

When a person becomes incapable of managing their affairs, the Court of Protection may appoint a Deputy to manage the affairs on their behalf.  If there is a dispute about the suitability of that Deputy, or about their management of the patient’s affairs, the expert team at Eric Robinson Solicitors can help guide you through these issues. 

At Eric Robinson Solicitors our specialist lawyers can provide a no-obligation, fixed-fee one-hour interview for £125 plus VAT (£150) to help you establish whether there are grounds for you to raise issues regarding the suitability or conduct of the Attorney or Deputy.  If you decide to instruct us beyond this initial meeting then we will discuss with you the various funding options that may be available and we will help you find the one to suit you.

FAQs

In what capacity do people act as an Attorney?

An Attorney is appointed by reason of an individual (the donor) granting powers via a Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (an EPA). The Attorney is appointed to look after the donor’s finances and health and welfare if the donor loses mental capacity.

In what capacity do people act a Deputy?

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA’s) are drawn up when the individual granting the powers (the donor) still retains mental capacity. LPA’s and EPA’s cannot be drawn up once the prospective donor has been deemed to have lost mental capacity. If an individual loses capacity and has failed to grant an LPA or EPA it will be necessary to appoint a Deputy to look after the individual’s finances and and/or health and welfare. A Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection and will usually be an individual’s next of kin, close relative, or friend.

What tasks are covered by a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

An Attorney acting on behalf of a donor pursuant to a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will have the power to make decisions about things like:

– The donor’s daily routine which will involve tasks such as washing, dressing and eating.

– The donor’s medical care.

– Whether the donor should move to a care home.

– The maintenance of life-sustaining treatment.

What tasks are covered by a Property and Finances Lasting Power of Attorney?

An Attorney acting on behalf of a donor pursuant to a Property and Finances Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will have the power to make decisions about things like:

– The donor’s money including bank and/or building society accounts.

– Paying any bills owed by the donor for services incurred.

– Collecting any benefits that the donor is entitled to and collecting the donor’s pension.

– Selling the donor’s home and dealing with the donor’s investments.

What obligations are imposed upon Property and Finance Attorney’s?

The Attorney must always act in donor’s best interests and they are permitted to spend the donor’s money on things that maintain or improve the donor’s quality of live. This could involve things such as a new clothes or hairdressing or paying for extra support for the donor so that they can go out more.

What obligations are imposed upon Property and Finance Attorney’s?

The Attorney must ensure that they always act in their donor’s best interests. They must also ensure that they keep the donor’s finances separate from their own unless the Attorney already shares a joint asset with the donor, such as a joint bank account or home. Restrictions will also apply where the Attorney is seeking to sell the donor’s property especially where any proposed sale is below market value, where it is proposed that the property will be given to a third party, or where the Attorney is seeking to buy the property.

What records should an Attorney or Deputy keep?

Attorneys are required to keep a record of the donor’s assets, income and expenditure. Where the donor’s funds are spent the Attorney will need to keep a copy of all receipts. Attorneys can only claim expenses for costs that have arisen as part of their role which may include things such as reasonable travel costs.

How is an Attorney or Deputy supervised?

The Office of the Public Guardian and Court of Protection have the power to investigate the conduct of Attorneys and such investigations could extend to contact being made with third parties such as the donor’s family or care workers. Such investigations will be seeking to establish whether the Attorney has been acting in the donor’s best interests or whether the Attorney has been misusing the donor’s money for their own financial gain.

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