Posted on 17.8.15 by Tasoula Addison
Appointing attorneys who you truly trust is vitally important. Not appointing specific people could possibly leave your property and financial affairs in the hands of people who might not deal with it in your best interests should you become incapable. It can also cause grievance and unnecessary stress for your family.
In 2015, Mr Smith (name changed for anonymity) moved into a residential care home to help deal with his dementia, after being diagnosed in 2012. As Mr Smith’s dementia progressed, his mental capacity to deal with and make decisions regarding own personal affairs had diminished.
In 2014, two of Mr Smith’s five children applied to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their father’s deputies in regards to his property and financial affairs. As there were no objections to their application, the court authorised the two siblings to be deputies. This appointment meant that the deputies could make on going decisions regarding Mr Smith’s property and affairs. The two deputies had also been named by Mr Smith as executors of his last will, demonstrating his trust in them.
The deputies made the logical and necessary decision to sell a shop and a flat which belonged to Mr Smith in order to pay for his care. This decision disgruntled the other three siblings who appealed the decision and asked the court to reconsider the application.
The court dismissed the claim, stating that the three siblings only sought to bring their application once they knew that the properties owned by Mr Smith would have to be sold. The court questioned their motive and had to consider whether they would be acting in the best interests of Mr Smith.
The three siblings’ application failed and it was left to the two original deputies to deal with Mr Smith’s financial affairs and property.
Appoint trusted attorneys
When Mr Smith had capacity he had specifically named two of his children to be executors of his will. He didn’t, however, make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) and name executors should he lose the mental capacity to make his own decisions. In 2012 he did start to lose mental capacity having been diagnosed with dementia and had lost his capacity by about 2013.
Mr Smith named these two children for a reason. They applied to the Court of Protection to be deputies for his affairs, but had he made a LPA, they wouldn’t have had to go through the courts to be given the power and authority to manage in his best interests.
At the time his other children did not apply to be deputies. However, they were well within their right to do so and challenge their other family members. Once they applied after the sale of Mr Smith’s property had been announced, the court did not think their motives were in the right place to act as Mr Smith would have wanted.
The next steps
Making an LPA and appointing a trusted attorney would have saved his family a lot of heartache, time and money in what was already a difficult and stressful period. You can help your family avoid this ordeal.
Appointing a power of attorney is a simple process which can be made even smoother by dealing with the right people. Here at Gorvins we have a trusted, experienced and specialist team who can help you to appoint the people you trust most to look after all of your affairs should you not be able to.