Powers of attorney can be an extremely useful tool to allow family members, friends or professionals to make decisions for you, if it becomes difficult for you to make decisions yourself. However, attorneys are not subject to ongoing supervision and occasionally, this can lead to problems. Attorneys’ circumstances, or their relationship to the donor, could change and they may no longer be suitable to act.
If you have made a power of attorney and no longer wish your attorney to act, provided that you still have mental capacity, you can choose to remove that attorney by sending a document to the Office of the Public Guardian confirming this. If you have appointed multiple attorneys on a joint and several basis, or have appointed replacement attorneys, they could then step in as your attorney. Alternatively, if you have no other attorneys, your power of attorney would come to an end. You would need to make a new power of attorney to appoint new attorneys, if you wished.
If you have a power of attorney but no longer have the capacity to remove the attorney yourself, it is possible for someone to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian on your behalf to ask for the attorney to be removed. The Office of the Public Guardian should investigate and if there is sufficient evidence that the attorney is not acting appropriately, apply to the Court of Protection to have the attorney removed. Again, it is possible that any remaining attorneys would then step in or if no other attorneys are appointed, a deputyship may need to be considered.
It is therefore crucial to consider potential attorneys carefully and make sure you choose people you can trust. Tozers offer a professional attorneyship service to clients who feel that an objective professional is the best choice for them, or those who have complex affairs which need ongoing advice.