Tom Sharkey, Partner and head of our Court of Protection team, has been named among the first 30 lawyers appointed to the Law Society’s more…
Misuse of power
Whilst the vast majority of deputies act with integrity, it’s sadly all too common for someone in their position to abuse their power. The role of deputy is built entire on trust, yet we’ve all heard stories of unscrupulous friends, family and neighbours who’ve acted less than honestly.
Often the abuse is for the deputy’s own financial gain, but you can also challenge the conduct of deputies if you suspect that they’re:
- preventing you from seeing your loved one
- failing to pay bills
- making loan or credit applications in your loved one’s name
- making excessive gifts to other people
- not involving your loved one in decisions about their care
It’s likely that a property and affairs deputy will have the ability to gifts on behalf of the vulnerable person. These might be for Christmas or birthdays, however they have to be reasonable, proportionate and consistent with the value of gifts given prior to your loved one losing capacity.
You should speak to a CoP lawyer if you notice a deputy going beyond these powers to make considerable gifts, either to themselves or someone else.
Be vigilant + report your concerns
Whilst it’s primarily the Court of Protection’s responsibility to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people are protected, it’s often the close friends and relatives of the loved one who are first to identify a possible misuse of power.
If you suspect that a deputy is misusing their power or you’re concerned that they’re not acting in your loved one’s best interests, you can apply to the Court of Protection to replace them.
Contact our specialist Court of Protection solicitors for advice. We have experience of this situation and will investigate your concerns quickly. If we support them, we’ll help you make an immediate application to the Court of Protection.
Any concerns reported to our misuse of power solicitors will be confidential and won’t be reported to the deputies.