It is generally accepted that people are living longer due to medical advances and therefore that more people will be faced with issues linked to old age and poor health such as dementia.
Court of Protection, deputies and attorneys
Attorneys under an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) or a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection (CoP) can be authorised to deal with the affairs and assets of a person (commonly called a Patient (P)) who has lost the capacity to make decisions about their own health and welfare and/or property and affairs.
As a general rule, Attorneys and Deputies should act in the best interest of the person on whose behalf they act.
Making decisions of a health and welfare nature could include issues such as care and living arrangements, whether to give or refuse medical treatment, organ donation, and deprivation of liberty.
Dealing with a Patient’s property could include making gifts out of their assets, selling assets making loans or entering into contracts on behalf of the Patient.
On occasion disputes arise regarding the registration of an EPA or LPA (for example it is disputed that a Patient has actually lost capacity), the appointment of Attorneys and Deputies, or in relation to conduct of Attorneys or Deputies. This can happen due to a difference of opinion where two or more have been appointed or between Attorneys or Deputies and other persons (often family members) interested in ensuring a particular outcome for a Patient.
In certain circumstances it would be possible for an Attorney or Deputy to apply to the court (the Court of Protection, ‘CoP’) for permission to make a (new) Will for someone who no longer has the capacity to do so. This is known as an application for a Statutory Will.
Disputes relating to past acts or decisions taken by Attorneys and Deputies, and regarding future decisions / acts can be referred to the CoP. These can include investigations carried out by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) into issues and allegations relating to the conduct of an Attorney or Deputy. Examples of this might be where there are concerns about possible abuse of the Patient, or fraud or theft by the Attorney or Deputy is suspected.
To discuss any of the above issues without obligation please contact your nearest office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.