The Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian do try to prevent these losses, but inevitably there will be some cases where the wide powers given to a Deputy are abused.
A deputy is someone who has been designated by the Court of Protection to act on behalf of someone who lacks capacity and cannot make choices for themselves, dealing with their property, finances, health and welfare.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a deputyship order to be abused. The money accounts and investments of the incapacitated person are accessible to the deputy. They are able to borrow money or apply for credit cards in the person’s name who lacks mental capacity. They can make gifts using the incapacitated person’s assets. They could opt to place the disabled person in care.
An application to withdraw a deputy’s appointment (and appoint a substitute deputy) may be submitted to the Court of Protection where there are concerns about the deputy’s behaviour. The constable was not acting in the disabled person’s best interests, which is at the heart of this case.
The potential of legal action being taken against the abuser, whomever they may be, needs to be urgently considered when the abuse has been discovered and halted. While the Court of Protection may compel the attorney to make up the donor’s losses, it may also be necessary to report the attorney to the police for fraud or theft and/or to file a lawsuit in order to collect and/or protect the donor’s assets.
An application for an injunction to stop the offender from disposing of or dealing with assets might be made in the form of a claim for undue influence, breach of trust, and/or fiduciary obligation, among other possible appropriate civil actions.
Our expert team of solicitors can advise you if you are concerned about the actions of an attorney and, where necessary, help you apply to the court to remove them and recover funds.