Increasing life expectancy in the UK has led to more and more people appointing someone to manage their property, health, and finances when they are unable to do so themselves. It is common for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s to create Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) or Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), naming a relative or close friend to be their attorney for any important decisions. The attorney must always act in the best interest of the “donor.”
Power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on behalf of another person, usually in matters related to finances, healthcare, or other legal matters.
Can You Dispute Powers Of Attorney?
There is often a disagreement over whether the donor had the mental capacity to complete the LPA which leads to disputes.
Some common types of powers of attorney disputes include:
- Allegations of abuse or exploitation: The principal or their family members may accuse the attorney-in-fact of using their authority to exploit the principal or steal their assets.
- Disputes over decision-making: The principal or their family members may disagree with decisions made by the attorney-in-fact, such as financial transactions or healthcare decisions.
- Revocation disputes: The principal may attempt to revoke the power of attorney, but the attorney-in-fact may refuse to relinquish their authority.
- Disputes over authority: The attorney-in-fact may exceed the authority granted to them in the power of attorney document or fail to act in the best interests of the principal.
Powers of attorney disputes can be emotionally charged and may require legal intervention to resolve. If you are involved in a power of attorney dispute, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced attorney specialising in elder law or estate planning.
Settling An Attorney Dispute
In addition to advising clients who wish to challenge an attorney’s decisions, we also represent attorneys who defend claims by family members and third parties. Often, disputes can be resolved after a meeting between the two parties or through mediation. Those involved in an attorney dispute are encouraged to seek alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by the Court of Protection (a court that handles the affairs of those who lack capacity).
Who Pays for a Power of Attorney Dispute?
In the Court of Protection, the donor’s estate pays for the objector’s costs. However, a court can ignore the general rule if it believes that an application has been made in bad faith, but only if you act reasonably at all times.
In order to challenge the registration of an EPA or LPA, or the actions of an attorney or deputy, you must comply with the Court of Protection’s formalities. The process can be quite complex, so you should hire a lawyer. The Court of Protection may have contacted you about an objection to your appointment if you are an attorney. It may have to do with the way you handle the estate.
Taking legal advice immediately is crucial in these circumstances. In order to defend any action against you and to justify your conduct thus far, you will likely seek legal advice.
Contact us about settling your Powers of Attorney dispute.