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Your experiences of the Court of Protection

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Sally, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    #1 Sally, Jan 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
    Exactly what it says on the tin! I am going to a forum at the Office of the Public Guardian in March (date not confirmed) to talk about how the older client group finds the service from the Court of Protection.

    Any experiences positive and negative gratefully received.

    Thanks folks.
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Sally

    good work!

    My experiences were basically good ones, associated with making and registering an EPA.

    First advice is to get to someone on the help line. At first I tried to go through the folk who answer the phones and they were not so helpful, either on the phone [through their difficulties with English] or by post [their misunderstanding of their own forms from the CoP].

    I have nothing but praise for the help line though. I spent a long time with one man there who allayed all my worries and steered me through the process.

    The web site is good, and informative; the booklet on EPAs was excellent.

    Good experience. :)
     
  3. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    Yay!

    Cynically I expected an outpouring of angst over Court related matters so it is good to start on a positive. The comments about the language difficulties and forms is noted though.

    Thanks.
     
  4. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    Do they have foreign call centres Bruce? Or just some foreign staff in UK call centres? :confused:
     
  5. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Concur with Bruce - the website and guidelines generally excellent ..... nothing but positives until I called them to ask a specific question post EPA registration - at which point I was infuriated that they seemed to treat every 'dementia sufferer' as the same - which we all know too well here they are not ..... it would have been nice to have had someone understood that my mother's situation is as 'unique' as the next person's ...... and not suggest a 'global' solution to a particular question or problem .... (Thankfully, I got the answers I needed from TP - not them! :))

    I have PM'd with more details ...

    Well done Sally!

    Karen, x
     
  6. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    call centre staff

    The call centre is in Archway in London but some of the staff do have foriegn accents which I think can be difficult for callers to understand at times.
     
  7. germain

    germain Registered User

    Jul 7, 2007
    342
    Hello Sally,

    I have just today received back an EPA which I sent to PGO on 22 September for registration.

    The delay in processing was originally caused by my mistake (lack of DOB) BUT ALSO by the processing team misunderstanding the signature rules. All this was sorted out for me by a very helpful chap on the Helpline but only after I phoned in November to query the delay ! The papers had just been filed away unprocessed because of the errors and no-one had written to me at all. (My cheque had been cashed tho')

    I sent all the information back on 27 November and had to phone again just before Xmas to query progress. The very good helpline bod told me that my letter and attachments had been received but not actioned but he'd see that they were prioritised.

    All in all I found the Helpline excellent but the processing dire . However, as an ex long serving Civil Servant myself I do realise that the processing will be done by very low grade admin staff on not a lot better than the minimum wage and "if you pay peanuts etc etc" They need to build in better work tracking systems so that papers can't just be filed away or left unprocessed without checks.

    regards
    Germain
     
  8. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    716
    I too was surprised that there did not seem to be any Smiths or Jones working there. My only concern was that the EPA came back torn.

    Clive
     
  9. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    I would endorse the comment:
    As the court rescinded my successful application when some papers received by them, date stamped, and then filed incorrectly. it left Lionel in a very invidious position.

    It took several months, many letters, and intervention of our solicitor before the matter was settled. Totally their mistake in the first place.
     
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Generally excellent, well until they couldn't find the the original EPA! It was in fact just lost in 'the system'.

    The department the scans the original EPA is totally separate from the department that deals with registering the EPA. That took me a while to find out.

    TOP TIP: Take a good quality photo copy of the original EPA before sending it to the Court of Protection.

    I agree the website has been helpful and the phone manner and clarity of everyone I spoke to refreshing.

    Kind Regards
    Craig
     
  11. Pirate

    Pirate Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
    7
    England
    In 2004 I applied to the Court of Protection to become Receiver for my mother's affairs.

    The information on the web site was very clear. I downloaded all the application forms from the web site, and sent them off.

    The processing time was quite long, but when I had any queries I was able to speak to someone who could help. I enclosed quite a long letter asking for an interim Court Order to assist me with some more pressing matters, and I got this with no problem.

    2004 was a stressful time for me, but the Court of Protection did not add to my stress - they were very helpful.
     
  12. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hello Sally

    I sent off the EPA for my mum to the CoP end July and received it back beginning of September, no problem. I found the process very straightforward so no complaints about the service from me. (I downloaded the forms off the website, which I found very user friendly). Didn't use a solicitor, applied for waiver of fees for mum and it sailed through.

    Perhaps CoP need to go out to businesses, banks/fin institutions and others and 'educate' them a little - it's been a right pain trying to sort out with that lot!:(

    All the best with it!
     
  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Sally - I'm not sure if your meeting was on Tuesday or the 9th. However, on the off chance that the date you listed was correct not the day, you might ask them how they deal with retroactive changes. Specifically I have just found out that they are "now" saying that the attorney does not count when it comes to notification when you're registering an EPA. Now that may have always been the case, but not only did they not explicitly address it, the help line was indicating that that was not the case and solicitors seem to believe that that wasn't the case either. As an example, my mother made an EPA with me as the attorney and I was told by the help line (at the end of July 2007) and my solicitor when it was drawn up that on registration it would be adequate to notify myself (duh) and her 2 grandchildren. http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk/docs/EPA101-1007.pdf
    says that "If an Attorney is also a relative, they cannot be counted as one
    of the three relatives who must be notified." As it happen my mother died before I got to that point but I can see this being a big issue. It's possible that this isn't a change, but I think it is.
     
  14. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    meeting

    Hello all,

    The meeting has now been moved back to March unfortunately but I will keep all these comments till then and perhaps some others will post in the meantime.

    Jennifer, I will check out your query. Am I right in thinking that what you are saying is that if there is more than one attorney, technically one attorney can register the document without telling the other attorney/s what they are doing? And that you are wondering whether this is a change to an old system (and if so then why it has been changed)?

    Sally
     
  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    No. What I'm saying is: when the EPA was drawn up for my mother by the solicitor, I queried who needed to be informed when it came to registration. The info provided has always said the closest 3 relatives (plus of course any other attorneys - that has not changed). I was her attorney but I was assured not only by the solicitor but also by the help line in July that even though I was the attorney I did in fact count as one of those 3 relatives. Now, however the guidance says that I would NOT count - I would either have to find another set of relatives to notify or go to court and pay yet another fee (on top of the registration fee). We have a very small family: I think I'd have to track down her (dead) brother's child, or his children if I was registering now.

    I hope I've made that clearer - if I haven't let me know and I'll try again. All attorneys have to be notified - that hasn't changed. What "seems" to have changed is whether they will count a relative who is also an attorney as a notifiable relative.

    There must be a lot of people in this situation: I can easily imagine a husband and wife drawing up EPAs in the past, each appointing the other as attorney plus their children as attorneys as a backup. Now when it comes to the registration nobody mentioned as an attorney counts from the point of view of relatives to be notified so if one of this hypothetical couple now wanted to register the EPA they'll have to find rather more distant relatives to notify. Other children who weren't attorneys would count as would any grandchildren, but then it get hairy.
     
  16. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    #16 Sally, Jan 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
    gotcha

    OK, I am with you, I will contact someone at the Office of the Public Guardian and ask.

    Incidentally, post October 1st people can no longer sign an Enduring Power of Attorney but instead have to take out a Lasting Power of Attorney. On this form no-one has to be contacted at all unless the person drawing it up specifies certain people. This leaves the ball in the court of the person drawing it up and should help to lessen the number of cases where attorneys feel obligated to hunt down either estranged or hard to contact relatives, which can be upsetting and time consuming.

    Sally
     
  17. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    answer to Jennifer's query

    Hello,

    I have spoken to someone on the EPA team at the Court of Protection and it is the case that as of 'recently' (he would not commit to exact dates but said 'very recently') the Office of the Public Guardian decided that they WOULD count the attorney as 'a notifiable party' i.e. someone who could in theory be notifying themselves because their relationship with the donor was one mentioned on the list. This would obviously decrease by one the number of people who had to be notified.
     
  18. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    #18 Sally, Jan 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
    aaaand

    the document that Jennifer quoted is still on the website and does state that the attorney does NOT count as a notifiable party, and this is wrong. Why it is therefore still on their website is a mystery to me but there you go, they did not seem overly concerned about it at the OPG (?!)
     
  19. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Hi Sally - yes I got the AS helpline and they got their legal bods on it and they have been told essentially what you have been told (although they were told that the change was made in October). I actually don't think the COP know what they're talking about as as of July I was told that an attorney could count as a notifiable relative. And I think it's very very bad that their website is showing one thing when the truth appears to be something else. I can easily see someone reading that and, as it is so definite, and recent (September 2007), assuming they would either have to find very distant relatives to notify or end up paying an additional fee to the COP.

    So that's another question for them - how do they ensure that their website reflects current rules?! :D
     
  20. sidecarjohn

    sidecarjohn Registered User

    Mar 11, 2008
    2
    Huddersfield
    Legal Frustration

    Our father died on Christmas Eve. He had been responsible for mother's affairs following her decline and her entering a care home. We are now immersed in the legal gravy train that surrounds the Court of Protection legislation. Close involvement identifies a defective process, which is not serving anyone well, other than those charging their fees. Meanwhile, financial issues that were previously simple under father's control, are now complex beyond common sense. It is shambolic, deficient, and worrying.

    Contact with 10 Downing Street, the Secretary of State, and MP requesting that the whole issue be in some way audited before chaos truly rules has met with perhaps predictable silence.

    Finally, the current wait is for the involved solicitor's representative, a paralegal, to visit mother and "explain" to her the situation, and presumably gain her "approval". Farce is too simple a description. Too many people are destined to be disturbed by this sorry state of affairs.
     

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