A recent case has clarified an issue about appointing replacement attorneys in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It is now clear that you cannot appoint replacement attorneys to replace other replacement attorneys.
When you make a LPA, you choose people you trust to deal with matters on your behalf when you lose the capacity to deal with such matters yourself. This includes either property and financial affairs and/or your health and welfare.
To provide for the future and the possibility that your appointed attorneys may die before you or be otherwise unable to act as attorneys, it is advisable to nominate a reserve or reserves to stand in as replacement attorneys.
The 2013 case of Court of Protection in Office of the Public Guardian v Boff and another (2013) MHLO 88 made it clear that it is not possible to appoint successive replacement attorneys.
Dr Boff made a LPA for property and financial affairs and appointed her husband as sole attorney. She sensibly appointed replacement attorneys, namely her two sons and her niece. However, she stated that she only wished one attorney to act at a time and therefore appointed the replacement attorneys to act in succession.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) refused to register Dr Boff’s LPA and the OPG applied to the Court of Protection to sever Dr Boff’s instructions from the LPA. Dr Boff made an objection. Although the legislation (the Mental capacity Act 2005) is ambiguous, the Judge confirmed that successive attorneys cannot be appointed.