Court of Protection – Part 4
The next case I want to talk about is catchily named Re AB (Revocation of an Enduring Power of Attorney) 2014. As already mentioned, the generally rule is that Court of Protection cases are anonymised, to protect the person who lacks capacity and their name only becomes known after they have passed away (sometimes). Or alternatively a case can be about someone well known and if information is already in the public domain, sometimes the Court will choose to allow that information to be published, but they will not seek to put new information into the public domain. People who lack capacity are entitled to privacy, as we all are around the running of our affairs, the difference is that the Court makes the decision/s, rather than us as individuals.
So Re AB – what happened? AB appointed his two nephews to act on his behalf and they were appointed jointly and severally, which meant that either one of them could sign. The Local Authority had become concerned about AB, who had dementia, as her care fees were not being paid. So the Local Authority wrote to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) asking them to investigate. They duly did so and then made an application to the Court of Protection to have the EPA revoked.
The nephews had spent £98,000 of AB’s money on gifts, loans to family members and unexplained expenditure. They did write to the OPG regarding the expenditure and their financial submissions were not accepted. The Court indicated that they “had no confidence” in the figures. This left AB with considerable debts and few assets with which to meet her debts.
So what did the Court do? They had no problem in revoking the EPA and inviting the Local Authority to become Deputy for AB in the absence of her Attorneys. This is not an action that the Court will do without care, AB chose to appoint her attorneys and the Court would not want to override her choice without good reason. But in this case, they had very good reason and duly did revoke the EPA.
So this will mean that AB’s affairs are managed by the Local Authority, who are likely to charge for the work that they do. Overall this will cost AB a considerable sum, as it is likely that the Court costs will come from AB’s estate if she has sufficient funds to meet the cost. If not, then the work is done at a discounted rate, or the Local Authority may pay, which means our tax payers money is spent on this.
So the overall message is that if you are going to appoint someone to act for you, make sure that you trust them, otherwise it can become very expensive, not just in the money that is lost due to theft, but in the costs it takes to sort it all out. And if you are not sure, don’t appoint them, you need to be totally confident that whoever you are appointing is going to do a good job for you.