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What Can I Do If I Have Concerns About An Attorney's Conduct

View profile for Tom Fletcher
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Mental Capacity – What is it?

Mental capacity broadly refers to the ability to understand and use information, to make a particular decision, and the ability to communicate that decision. A person lacks mental capacity if their mind is impaired in some manner, which makes them unable to suitably make a decision at a particular time.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document which gives a person/people (Attorneys) authority to make decisions on behalf of someone (the Donor) if capacity is lost.

LPAs can allow attorneys to make decisions in relation to the Donor’s property and affairs, or their health and welfare.

Role of Attorneys

The role of an attorney is to act and make decisions in the best interests of the Donor. Where an attorney is unsure of what decisions to make, they should consult with others who know the Donor, and keep records of the steps they have taken to reach their decision.

Attorneys should also maintain records of any transactions that are made on the Donor’s behalf, along with explanations for those transactions and why they were considered necessary or appropriate.

Concerning Conduct

Whilst the majority of attorneys perform their role diligently and appropriately, sadly there will be occasions when the authority conferred by an LPA is exceeded and/or abused.  

Examples include an attorney making purchases that, when viewed objectively, are for the attorney’s benefit rather than the Donor’s, or paying themselves a wage for acting as attorney. 

Financial abuse can be identified by questionable payments, or other suspicious transactions that suggest an attorney may be using the Donor’s money for their own benefit.

These breaches of trust can seriously harm the vulnerable client both financially and emotionally. At Johnson Astills we understand the gravity of these situations and are committed to providing effective advice if there are concerns that an attorney may not be acting in the best interests of the Donor they should be supporting.

What can be done to protect a vulnerable person against financial abuse by an attorney?

It may be appropriate for an attorney whose conduct is questionable, to be removed as an attorney, as this will terminate their authority to act on the Donor’s behalf.

Concerns can be raised with the Office of the Public Guardian, who can investigate the concerning conduct. If an attorney is removed, any remaining attorneys will need to consider whether action against the removed person is appropriate, for example to recover any wrongful spending.

Here at Johnson Astills, our Dispute Resolution Team can provide clients with a thorough explanation of the legal framework surrounding the removal of attorneys and the recovery of misappropriated monies and assets.

Our team can conduct a comprehensive assessment of a case and identify potential legal remedies in order to protect vulnerable persons in their time of need.

Get in Touch

At Johnson Astills, we offer fixed fee initial consultations, at which we will discuss your matter in detail and provide preliminary advice and guidance.

If you have concerns about an attorney’s conduct, or are an attorney whose conduct has been challenged, and require advice on how to move forward, contact our Dispute Resolution team for guidance.

For further information, or to arrange a fixed fee consultation, please call our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610 312, or fill in our free online enquiry form and one of our friendly team will be in touch.