Lasting Power of Attorney
September 2017 No: 1
As legal advisors, we would recommend that all our clients make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
An LPA gives clients the opportunity to say in advance what they would like to happen if capacity is lost and more importantly, who they want to make decisions on their behalf. It ensures that someone you trust deals with matters on your behalf.
However, not all clients make an LPA and when capacity is lost there is no-one with legal authority to handle your financial affairs. At this point, the only option is for someone to step forward and apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a financial Deputy.
Unfortunately, for those without close family, it may be the local authority looking to be appointed as a Deputy to ensure that social care costs can be recovered.
Recently, a judge has ordered an inquiry after a firm that was charged with looking after the financial affairs of vulnerable persons on behalf of Enfield Council has been shamed by claims that dozens of their clients may have lost thousands of pounds.
It is understood that Enfield Council had outsourced Deputyship work to Matrix Deputies which is now at the centre of an investigation following allegations that more than 50 of their clients may have lost their savings, as well as claims the firm took a fee when selling their clients’ homes.
Among the allegations levied against the firm is that it held all its client’s funds in one account that was marred by ‘unexplained discrepancies’ and that there was ‘a clear system of financial benefit … at the expense of persons to whom they owed fiduciary duties’. The firm also accepted there were ‘errors’ in spending on behalf of clients that amounted to more than £30,000.
To ensure that someone you trust has the authority to look after your finances, make a Lasting Power of Attorney.