The Court of Protection (COP) is the specialist court that makes decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who lack mental capacity to make decisions at the time they need to be made. The court deals with those managing the affairs of people lacking capacity, whether as an attorney or a deputy. This is usually non contentious but sometimes there can be conflict.
Our specialist contested Wills and probate team has a wealth of experience helping attorneys, donors (the person that made a power of attorney) and families disputing cases that involve the Court of Protection and the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) including:
- reporting concerns to the OPG that an attorney or deputy has misused money or made decisions that are not in the donor’s best interests
- responding to an investigation initiated by the OPG compliance unit
- cancelling an attorney appointment
- disputing capacity and the trigger or otherwise of registration of a power of attorney.
We appreciate that disputes involving the Court of Protection can be daunting for individuals who will very often have never had any involvement with the court before. Our specialist team works with individuals and families in St Albans, Hertfordshire and across the South East and will guide you through your options and help you find the best solution.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Court of Protection disputes
Both look after the affairs and make decisions for another person. A significant difference is how they are appointed. A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection only if a person lacks capacity. An attorney is chosen by the person making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), known as the donor, who does so at a time they have capacity to make the LPA and chose their attorney.
A statutory Will allows the Court of Protection to make (or in some cases to change) a Will on behalf of someone when that individual does not have the mental capacity to deal with their own Will arrangements. Friends of family or others impacted by a statutory Will may object to the contents of the statutory Will, or whether one should be made in the first place. A statutory Will invariably changes the existing status quo that results in gain for some and loss for others.
You can dispute the choice of attorney for a friend or family member if you feel the attorney chosen is the wrong person for the job, or that they were chosen when the patient didn’t have the capacity to make such an important decision. It is also possible to object to the registration.
If you question the actions of an attorney or deputy and believe they are not acting in the best interests of the patient, you may consider options for the investigation of their actions and protecting the best interests of the family member or friend you are concerned about.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) (formerly known as the Public Guardianship Office) protects people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves and is often involved in Court of Protection cases. The OPG is responsible for:
- taking action where there are concerns about an attorney or deputy
- registering lasting and enduring powers of attorney, so that people can choose who they want to make decisions for them
- maintaining the public register of deputies and people who have been given lasting and enduring powers of attorney
- supervising deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, and making sure they carry out their work in line with the Mental Capacity Act
- looking into reports against registered attorneys or deputies of abuse of their position.