At HMG Law we provide advice and assistance about managing property, financial or health decisions on behalf of a relative or loved one.
Whether that is an informal arrangement or via the formal legal authorities provided by Lasting Powers of Attorney or a Deputyship Order, we and the family must always have the best interests of the person involved as the prime and overriding consideration.
Which is why it is always good to remind ourselves that, even where all practical steps have been taken in the setting up of the appropriate legal documentation, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is able to provide advice, support and guidance to individuals and their families via its dedicated Safeguarding Team.
The OPG is the body with which Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered before they can be used and it also closely supervises Deputies who have been appointed by the Court. This month it has issued this blog which is a valuable reminder of the supportive role it can offer, as well as its investigative powers if safeguarding concerns are raised.
There will always be unscrupulous people about, but the key when making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) is to choose Attorneys who you trust to act in your best wishes (ideally loved ones, family members, very close friends or experienced professionals). By making LPAs through a solicitor, the solicitor can ensure that you have the required capacity to make the LPAs and that there is no pressure or undue influence at play. The solicitor can sign as the Certificate Provider confirming that he/she is entirely happy you understand the document and nobody is putting pressure on you to appoint them as Attorney. You also have the option of formally notifying a third party (friend, colleague, close neighbour) that you are making an LPA so they can raise concerns if they have any.
Once an Attorney is acting, or once a Deputy has been appointed by the Court, anyone can contact the OPG if they have concerns about the actions of the Attorney/Deputy or if they feel an Attorney/Deputy is not acting in your best interests.
If you would like further information about helping a loved one to manage their affairs, please contact us on 01865 244661 (Oxford office) or 01869 252244 (Bicester office) and ask to speak to a member of the Private Client team.