Court of Protection – Part 5
The Court of Protection has to deal with all sorts of interesting cases and I think that the next one fits that bill well. Re BM. JB and AG , this case gets interesting, as it involves not just the Court, but God also!
BM (the person at the centre of all of this) was a devoutly religious man. He was a pentacostal preacher and had made 2 previous Wills, both leaving his estate to the World Healing Council. He had a significant stroke in 2013 and was considered no longer able to manage his affairs.
He had friends and family around him, one of which was JB, who had conducted services in BM’s back room and considered herself to be his closest friend and a kind of mother figure in his life. She also considered herself to be a prophetess and there was evidence that she thought that God had promised her that BM would recover from his stroke. JB applied to the Court of Protection to be appointed as his financial deputy.
As well as JB, he had a distance relative AG, who objected to JB being appointed as Deputy, as she felt that she was unsuitable and there would be a conflict (as she had allowed her daughter to live in BM’s house rent free), so she made a counter application to have herself appointed as Deputy. Lucky man, two people wanting to help him!
The Judge, Senior Judge Denzil Lush (a lovely man who was originally from Plymouth) had a tough choice. BM was clearly a man of profound faith and this was not doubted, if faith was the issue, then JB was the choice, but faith was not the only issue to be considered. AG’s application was supported by a network of friends and neighbours, who were believed to know well the wishes and feelings of BM prior to his stroke and incapacitation.
Amongst the people who wrote in support of AG was the Executrix of his Will, who had discussed his affairs with his when he was well. The Executrix was EO, who was very clear that she felt that it would be in BM’s best interests that AG was appointed. AG was retired and it was noted that she would have time for the “onerous task” of being appointed Deputy.
So what did Senior Judge Denzil Lush decide? He chose AG, he did say that the choice was hard and finely balanced. BM was very clearly a man of deep faith and that had to be recognised, however it was the statement of EO, which he considered of “magnetic importance” in his final decisions.
So what are the lessons? The Court does have to make some very tough choices and does so with the wisdom of Solomon!!
And importantly, get an Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place as soon as possible, so that your wishes can be respected if you were to ever lose capacity. Dementia doesn’t happen in a second, but a stroke can and if BM had created an LPA, none of this would have been necessary!