It is becoming increasingly common for older people to need assistance with looking after their day-to-day affairs. Appointing an attorney using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is seen by many people as a wise precaution to take in case they become incapable of managing in this regard. However, if an LPA is not created at a time when someone has mental capacity, the Court of Protection can appoint a 'deputy' to fulfil that role if needed.
Over the last fifty years in particular, it has become increasingly common for families to be scattered across the globe. Recently, the Court had to consider whether a person resident in another country could reasonably be expected to discharge their obligations if appointed as deputy for a relative resident in the UK.
In the case in point, the Court considered that advances in communications and the ease of travel made foreign residence no bar to having the daughter of a woman who was no longer mentally capable appointed as her mother's deputy for property and affairs, even though the daughter lives in the USA.
In this case, however, the woman's assets were relatively small, making the job comparatively straightforward. A different conclusion might well be reached were the affairs of the person needing a deputy more complex.