The legal issues involved in removing an attorney from office
When someone makes a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing an attorney to take decisions on their behalf they should always appoint people who they trust to act in their best interests. But what happens if an attorney acts improperly by, for example, abusing their power, or are simply incompetent?
If the person who made the Lasting Power of Attorney still has capacity then they are free to remove the attorney. This is a relatively straightforward process and one which our team of specialist lawyers can assist with.
However, if the donor has already lost capacity, then matters are more complex. In the first instance, the Office of the Public Guardian can be asked to investigate your concerns. The Office of the Public Guardian may decide to bring proceedings in the Court of Protection themselves to remove of an Attorney.
Alternatively, it is open to you to apply directly to the Court of Protection. 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 of each case will be carefully considered. The court may appoint an interim deputy if they consider it necessary to manage the affairs of the incapacitated person while proceedings are ongoing.
Removing an attorney case studies
Case study 1
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 donor may have lost around £150,000. The Court of Protection revoked the Lasting Power of Attorney and ordered the appointment of a deputy to manage the donor’s finances moving forwards.
Case study 2
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 he had been struggling to deal with the management of his father’s finances as there had been difficulties in selling the property. Furthermore, he 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 we can assist with removing an attorney
If you have concerns about the conduct of an attorney, or concerns have been raised about your 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]