Agents warned to tread carefully on Court of Protection sales (Estate Agent Today)

1 August 2023

Estate Agent Today has published an article by Senior Associate, Kate Stockdale, about agents being warned when dealing with sales on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity.

Recent shifts in court attitudes have impacted the authority vested in deputies, who are usually appointed by the Court of Protection to act on behalf of individuals lacking mental capacity. This change primarily concerns the management of financial affairs, particularly when there is no power of attorney in place. However, it's crucial to note that this authority does not automatically extend to property sales.

The reasons for a person losing the capacity to decide on selling a property can vary greatly, from age-related cognitive decline to brain injuries resulting from accidents. The concept of 'capacity' revolves around an individual's capability to make specific decisions at a given time, which can be influenced by various cognitive impairments or disturbances.

Deputies, who might be managing property sales on behalf of someone with limited capacity, come from diverse backgrounds. They may possess a Deputyship Order, but it could also specifically prohibit property sales without further directions from the Court of Protection. In such cases, the deputy must act in the best interests of the property owner, which can significantly influence decisions regarding property value, price reductions, or negotiations.

Kate writes: "The courts are no longer giving authority for the Deputy to purchase or sell a property in the original Deputy Order and there has been a huge increase in the number of applications being made for further authority."

Read the full article here

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