How do I go about removing an attorney?
When someone makes a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) they will appoint attorneys to act on their behalf and manage their property and financial affairs.
Obviously, we must always take great care when choosing who we appoint as our attorney. An attorney has extensive powers, so its vitally important to appoint people we can trust to act in our best interests. But what can you do if things go wrong? Can an attorney be removed, and if so, how do you go about removing them?
What can be done if a bad choice of attorney is made?
Bad choices are occasionally made. Some attorneys abuse their power, while others are simply incompetent. So, what happens if an attorneys lets you down and acts improperly when fulfilling their duties?
If the person who made the LPA still has mental capacity then they are free to remove the attorney themselves, without the involvement of the Court of Protection. This is a relatively straightforward process and one with which our specialist team will be happy to assist you with.
However, if the person who has made the LPA has already lost capacity, then matters are more complex.
In the first instance, the Office of the Public Guardian can be asked to investigate the case. This may result in the Office of the Public Guardian deciding to bring proceedings themselves for removing an attorney in the Court of Protection.
Alternatively, family or close friends can apply directly to the Court of Protection for the attorney to be removed. The court has the power to remove an attorney if their behaviour is not in the best interests of the donor. Evidence will be required in support of any application and the individual facts will be carefully considered on a case by case basis. The court may appoint an ‘interim deputy’ to manage the affairs of the incapacitated person while court proceedings are ongoing.
High profile legal cases on removing an attorney
Re Buckley: An attorney used a considerable sum of the donor’s monies to assist with setting up a reptile breeding business along with further funds solely for her own benefit. In total, it is estimated that the around £150,000 was used. The Court of Protection revoked the Lasting Power of Attorney and ordered the appointment of a Deputy to manage the donor’s finances in the future.
Re GW: An attorney had failed to pay his father’s care home fees, supply the local council with information to enable a financial assessment to be carried, provide the Office of the Public Guardian financial information they had requested, provide his father with any personal allowance or indeed visit him in over two years.
The attorney said that he had been struggling to deal with the management of his father’s finances as there had been difficulties in selling the property. Furthermore, the attorney claimed he had spent his own money on making repairs to his father’s home to sell it at a price that wouldn’t be regarded as an undervalue. However, the Court of Protection decided that he had failed to act in the best interests of his father and the Lasting Power of Attorney was revoked.
How can we assist?
If you have worries about the conduct of an attorney or concerns have been raised about your own actions as an attorney, then please contact our Court of Protection team on 0333 888 0404 or send an email to us at [email protected]