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When you make a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney you appoint the people you feel you can trust to manage your financial affairs and act in your best interests.
However times change and so do some relationships.
Thinking about who you have appointed as your Attorneys
It is important to review who you have appointed as Attorneys every couple of years.
You may have appointed someone who has sadly passed away, or whose health means that they would have problems acting as an Attorney. Alternatively you could have appointed your child’s spouse as an Attorney but that relationship has broken down so that they are no longer the best person to act for you.
It may be that your Attorneys are no longer suitable because they have moved or your relationship with them has become difficult.
Your Attorneys could have started acting for you, under the Power of Attorney but you feel they are not acting in your best interests or managing your money appropriately.
If this is the case, and you still have capacity, you can take steps to remove your Attorneys and replace them with someone else you trust.
Previously when people made an Enduring Power of Attorney they had no option to appoint replacement Attorneys if anything happened to their original Attorneys, preventing them from taking on their role. With a Lasting Power of Attorney you can appoint replacement Attorneys to act if your Attorneys cannot. This safety net can be particularly useful as otherwise you would have to make a completely new Lasting Power of Attorney - which might not be possible if you had lost capacity.
When you have lost capacity but your Attorneys cannot act for you, and you have not appointed replacement Attorneys, then the Court of Protection will appoint a Professional Deputy to look after your finances for you. This process can take up to a year and can be expensive and time consuming.
If you are worried that someone has been taking advantage of a friend or relative who cannot manage their own financial affairs then you should raise your concerns with the Local Authority’s Adult Safeguarding Department who will investigate. You can also raise concerns about how an Attorney is acting with the Safeguarding Team at the Local Authority and the Office of the Public Guardian.
After their investigation, if the Office of the Public Guardian believes that the Attorney has misused their position they may refer the matter to the Court of Protection for the Attorney to be removed and for a Professional Deputy to be appointed.
It is always so important to make sure that the people you have appointed to act for you as your Attorneys are the people you trust to act in your best interests. If they cannot act for you or your relationship with them changes you should look at appointing new Attorneys to act for you.
For more advice on removing and replacing your Attorneys or appointing Replacement Attorneys please contact Veronica Male, our Court of Protection specialist, on 01788 557 574 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the role of an Attorney please visit our attorney pages.