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Are you an Attorney or Deputy?

27 April 2020 | Heledd Wyn

Are you an Attorney or Deputy?

If you have been asked to be an Attorney (or you have been appointed as a Deputy by the Court of Protection) are you aware of your obligations under the Mental Capacity Act 2005  and its Code of Practice?

Duties of Attorneys and Deputies

When considering the scope of your role it is important to bear in mind that your overriding duty is to act in the best interests of the person who made the power of attorney (donor) or the person for whom you are appointed as Deputy (often referred to as ‘P’ for Patient). You will need to consider their needs and wishes as far as possible.  It is important that you read the court order or power of attorney carefully as there may additional limitations on what you can do. In the early stages of acting, you will need to claim state benefits such as Attendance Allowance, make contact with banks and building societies, utility companies and any creditors to let them know about your role.

What are the limitations of an Attorney or Deputy?

As an attorney or Deputy, you need to be aware of the limits of what you can and cannot do.  For example, while you will be able to continue to make small gifts at birthday or Christmas, but any larger gifts will need the approval of the Court. You may also need to apply to the Court if you are selling a property that is owned jointly with another person. 

Statutory Will

You may also find that the person for whom you are acting does not have a Will and that this may cause problems. You can apply to the Court of Protection for authority to make what is known as a statutory Will. You can also apply to the Court for approval to carry out inheritance tax planning that may now need to be looked at.

Paying for care

You may also need to consider your options when it comes to paying for long-term care such as will there be any help towards fees and whether anyone else will be required to pay for this care.

The Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will supervise your actions as attorney or Deputy and you have obligations to produce accounts and to report to the OPG when requested.

Although you cannot delegate your decision making powers to anybody else unless expressly authorised you can choose to employ agents to deal with some or all of the administrative work arising from your appointment as attorney.

Specialist Long-Term Care Solicitors

At Gregg Latchams we have the expertise to assist attorneys and deputies as much or as little as you feel is needed, for example with applications to the Court of Protection or with aspects of long-term care.

To speak with one of our specialist Long-Term Care Solicitors in Bristol or London please call 0117 906 9400 or email enquiries@gregglatchams.com

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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