We know that legal advice is not always the cheapest purchase but there is a reason lawyers charge for what they do. We have many years of experience and learning in our field and it is this learning and experience that you are purchasing when you come to see us.
The benefit of legal advice has been highlighted by statistics issued by the Office of the Public Guardian for the 2018/19 administrative year. The Office of the Public Guardian are the administrative arm of the Court of Protection and bring cases before the Court where attorneys or deputies are considered to be inappropriately acting on behalf of the person they are looking after. During this year a total of 721 applications were made to the Court by the Office of the Public Guardian which is an increase of 45% on applications for the previous year. Making improper gifts and not acting in the best interests of the person being looked after were the most common causes of applications.
In addition to this 2883 safeguarding investigations were launched which is up again on the previous year by 54%.
Often misuse of power is notified to the Office of the Public Guardian by family members, care homes and local authorities who suspect bad behaviour is occurring but are powerless to do anything about it. In many cases abuse is not discovered until after a person has died which makes it incredibly difficult to recover any misappropriated funds.
Taking on the role of attorneyship or deputyship should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, it is often the case that those who do take on this role fail to take legal advice about what this means for them and do not refer to the guidance which is out there to support them in their daily decisions, record keeping and boundaries for their actions. Taking on the role without advice can mean that you fall into a legal issue without even realising it existed. To spend an hour with a suitably qualified and experience lawyer should be considered an investment and not an unnecessary expense as you will build a relationship that you, as an attorney or deputy, can rely upon for the duration of your appointment.
If you are an attorney or a deputy and are not sure what it means for you give us a call on 01622 843729 as we will be able to put you on the right path at the very beginning!