New guidance has been issued in relation gifts made by deputies of the Court of Protection and attorneys (people acting under a Power of Attorney).

The Court of Protection is the Court which has jurisdiction over the affairs of people who have lost the capacity to make their own decisions, for example about their health and finances; while the Office of the Public Guardian deals with the registration of Powers of Attorney and the supervision of ‘Deputies’, such as solicitors, who have been appointed by the Court to act on its behalf.

The rules on the making of gifts of the money or assets of people who fall under the jurisdiction of the Court by attorneys or deputies are designed to safeguard the interests of such people when they do not have the mental capacity to enable them to make those gifts themselves.

The OPG’s guidance states that gifts can only normally be made to the family or friends of the person on whose behalf the gift is being made, having regard to the views or wishes of that person, or to charity. Account must be taken of the likely reactions of other family members or friends, and the amount must be reasonable, having regard to the person’s overall means. Also, gifts cannot be made for the purpose of avoiding contributing to care home costs.

If these conditions are met, it will not usually be necessary for the deputy or attorney to apply to the Court for permission to make the gift.