This article in the FT highlights some alarming statistics about the increase in court actions against people with a lasting power of attorney (LPA) for a vulnerable individual.
Making improper gifts has been one of the main reasons for having attorneys censured or removed.
There have been some interesting decisions on this topic this year. The findings in this article are another reminder to attorneys under a financial LPA that they have a limited authority to make gifts. Subject to the terms of the LPA, gifts are limited to people related/connected to the donor on birthdays/weddings/an occasion where families may customarily give presents, or to a charity who the donor might have made gifts. But the value of the gift must not be unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances and the size of the donor's estate. Otherwise, an attorney must apply to the Court of Protection for approval to make the gift.
The Public Guardian's Practice Note on Giving Gifts (updated in January 2018) also provides useful information as well as judicial guidance on the "de minimis" exceptions and when these may (or may not not) apply.
Court actions against people with lasting power of attorney for vulnerable people have jumped in the past year, with cases against individuals rising by 71 per cent.