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Attorney or Deputy Investigations
JMW provides expert legal advice to those who believe a person appointed via an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or a court-appointed Deputy is acting outside of the powers conferred to them.
Whether appointed as an Attorney under an EPA, LPA, or a Deputy via the Court of Protection, the person acting in the role should take care to ensure that they act within the scope of the powers conferred to them through the EPA or LPA, or through an Order of the Court of Protection.
If there are signs that an Attorney or Deputy is believed to be abusing their position, a referral may be made to the Office of the Public Guardian to consider that individual’s conduct and their appropriateness to carry on in the role of Attorney or Deputy.
Whether you are challenging an appointed Attorney or are facing an investigation, we are experienced in providing practical support and clear guidance throughout the legal process.
How JMW Can Help
Should you have concerns about the conduct of an Attorney or Deputy, our experienced and dedicated lawyers can provide you with legal advice during an investigation.
We are also able to assist Attorneys who are facing a claim raised by family members or interested third parties. For example, when a referral has been made to the Office of the Public Guardian, a questionnaire may be sent to the Attorney or Deputy to provide them with an opportunity to reply to any queries that have been raised.
If you have received this questionnaire, we can provide advice on completing it and with any subsequent investigation. Given the variety of actions that can be taken by the Office of the Public Guardian against an individual, we would stress the importance of co-operating with their enquiries.
Several lawyers in our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team are members of the highly-respected Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and our expertise is widely recognised among our peers. Our loyal client base includes business owners, entrepreneurs, sports professionals, entertainers and medical professionals and we will use our expertise to ensure you receive the right advice for your specific situation.
What Could Cause an Investigation?
Common situations that may lead to an investigation by the Office of the Public Guardian include:
Unauthorised gifts or loans
Use of funds by Attorney or Deputy for certain personal expenses
Selling a property without applying for authority from the Court of Protection
Not keeping records of expenses incurred
Often such scenarios occur due to a lack of awareness of what an Attorney can and can’t do, and it is possible to explain to the Office of the Public Guardian what has happened without sanction.
What Powers Does the Office of the Public Guardian Have?
Where it is found that the individual has abused their position, the Office of the Public Guardian has the power to:
- Require that the Attorney or Deputy reimburse the person for whom they were acting
- Inform the police if they consider a crime has been committed
- Tell external agencies, including professional bodies
- Make referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service, which may mean the person reported can no longer work with adults or children
What Support is Available For People Without a Deputy or Attorney?
If you have concerns that a person is losing or has lost the capacity to manage their financial affairs and has nobody acting for them, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team or Court of Protection team to discuss the options available to assist that person.