Have you been wrongly accused of financial abuse?
Are you a Deputy/Attorney who is under the spotlight of an Office of the Public Guardian investigation(OPG)? If you are at the centre of safeguarding enquiries our experts can help you.
Have you received this letter?
If you have received this letter from the Office of The Public Guardian you should call us for immediate advice.
You need these guys by your side as their knowledge and expertise is truly impressive.
I am extremely satisified. They delivered on everything. I was accused of so many things and they proved all the allegations to be false.
Agreeing to become your parents’ Deputy/Attorney
Many years ago, you no doubt agreed to become your parents’ Deputy/Attorney, thinking that it was just a formality.
Your parents prepared either an:
- Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) or
- A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finance (LPAP&F)
- and/or a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (LPAH&W)
You signed on the dotted line, agreeing to act as a Deputy or an Attorney if, in the future, they lost mental capacity and could no longer manage their own affairs.
Now mum has dementia and you are using your EPA/LPA to manage her bank account, pay her care home fees and generally look after her money and make decisions regarding her health.
Out of the blue, you have received a letter saying that you will be subjected to an Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) investigation.
What is an OPG Safeguarding Investigation?
Anyone who has concerns about a Deputy or Attorney – even if these ‘concerns’ are, in fact, malicious and unfounded – can report them to the OPG.
The safeguarding allegation could relate to money, property or health and welfare decisions you’ve made on behalf of your relative, which someone is now disagreeing with.
You discover that a Safeguarding Enquiry has been opened and you are sent a very long form, known as ‘OPG5’.
You are given only a short period of time to answer some very detailed questions.
You feel outraged because you believe that you’ve only been doing the best for your mum and now you’re being falsely accused of elder financial abuse and are being asked by a complete stranger to justify the decisions that you’ve made.
The OPG have a legal right to look into all decisions made by an Attorney or Deputy. They also have wide-ranging powers.
They can send someone to visit your mother and speak to her, without telling you.
They can also speak to her care staff, contact your mother’s bank to find out what monies are being paid out and generally check that all the decisions you’ve made are in her best interests.
The OPG will assume that you are familiar with your obligations as Attorney and will refer you to the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice and expect you, as the Attorney, to have read and understood all 296 pages!
When most people receive a letter from the OPG, they are quite rightly very worried. They are also outraged and upset that everything they’ve done to help their relative is now being challenged.
If you find that you are at the receiving end of an enquiry by the OPG, as a result of your actions as an Attorney, you need to call us.
What should I do if I receive a letter from the Office of the Public Guardian?
The Office of the Public Guardian have the powers to challenge your control of an LPA.
If you receive a letter from the OPG, informing you that you have been ‘selected for investigation’, it is vital that you seek expert legal advice before you respond.
We have known of cases where individuals who are perfectly innocent of any wrong doing have blindly answered the OPG’s questions which have then landed them in hot water.
Don’t let this happen to you – call us now for a free conversation.
When is a gift not allowed?
One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of handling a relative’s finances, is the issue of gifting. We often hear from deputies or attorneys who are under investigation as a result of gifting money or assets.
If you are a Deputy or an Attorney and wish to make gifts on your relative’s behalf the law is very restrictive.
If you don’t follow the rules that govern gifts, you cannot later plead ignorance. In the words of the Court of Protection’s Senior Judge Lush”… attorneys should be aware of their legal responsibilities …. ignorance [is] no excuse.”
If a Deputy or Attorney makes an unlawful gift, they may have to personally repay that gift (even if the money has already been spent by the recipient) and they could also face a criminal prosecution.
Before you consider making a gift of a donor’s money – even if you believe it is what they would wish – call the team at Steene Law for a FREE conversation. We will be able to tell you whether or not it’s permissible – so that you avoid the prospect of a future OPG investigation into your actions.
If you are being falsely accused of abusing an LPA you need expert help
At Steene Law we’re on your side. We understand how upsetting LPA disputes can be.
We can help you gather evidence to prove that you have acted lawfully and help you successfully bring the dispute to a conclusion so that you can get on with caring for your relative without accusations of financial imprudence hanging over you.
We are available from 8am to 7pm, 365 days of the year and will explain your options including how you can fight an unfair LPA challenge.