Q. I am acting under a registered Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs for my brother, who no longer has the ability to deal with his money or make decisions for himself. My son, of whom he was very fond, is about to go to University and I am sure that my brother, who does not have any children of his own, would have liked to have helped him on his way by gifting him some money . As I am so sure that my brother would have made the gift am I allowed to do so on his behalf as his Attorney?
A. When you agreed to act as the Attorney for your brother you will have signed the Lasting Power of Attorney and read through the guidance the document contains. There are specific rules in relation to making gifts on behalf of the donor of a Lasting Power of Attorney, and one of those is that you are able to spend money to make gifts, but only on customary occasions and only for reasonable amounts. Customary occasions would include birthdays, weddings and Christmas for example. You also need to consider whether the gift you have in mind would be for a reasonable amount. You would need to consider the amount of money available to your brother and whether the amount would be regarded as reasonable. You also have a responsibility to act in the best interests of your brother in dealing with his finances at all times. Given this you might decide that a gift to your son on behalf of your brother on his birthday or at Christmas in line with what your brother may have made when he was able, might be acceptable. You should always seek guidance or approval from the Court of Protection to a proposed gift if you are in doubt with your responsibilities in acting under the Lasting Power of Attorney, and you might wish to take advice concerning this.
*This article was previously published in The Stamford Mercury