This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.


| 2 minutes read

Looking after your furry family members...

Being a professional deputy in respect of property and financial affairs carries with it a great responsibility, but also gives a real privilege to be part of a person's life, and help protect them when they are most vulnerable. Sometimes however you are tasked with making really difficult decisions. 

Recently I had to make a horrible decision for a person who had gone into care due to the impacts of a progressive disease. They could no longer live independently and required intensive support. At the time I first got involved, complicated proceedings before the Court of Protection were underway and the decision was made to identify a placement where they could live with their dog, whom I'll call Spot, who provided great support and comfort to her. I was appointed as their deputy to look after her finances in the absence of anyone else to support them.

Sadly, after several months at that placement, they had to move on, but this meant having to be separated from Spot who had to go into kennels. Prior to first placement Spot had been cared for by a friend but they could no longer assist for a variety of reasons, and no other friend or family member due to work or other commitments. Due to the progression of the person's illness ascertaining their wishes was not possible, so we couldn't properly work out what they wanted. 

Due to the fact that the person was a self-funder, by virtue of having more than £23,250 in capital, and not being eligible for Continuing Health Care funding, they could not afford the cost of the kennels for very long. Although it was a long shot, efforts were made to obtain funding for Spot through the local authority, but the current framework does not cater for this. In the end, we had no choice but to arrange for Spot to be rehomed due to the financial position.

This of course had a big impact on the person, but we were able to arrange a time for them to say goodbye and found a local charity that could support Spot's rehoming. 

Looking back it has made me reflect on lots of things. First, despite there being strong arguments about pets providing good therapy there is very little in the way of residential care or nursing home placements which allow a resident to have a pet, or they are extremely expensive. Second, that setting out your wishes as regards what should happen to your pet if something were to ever happen to you, is very important.

It is more common for people to address this in their will, but what about if you lose capacity? Clearly expressing who you would want to care for your pet if you lose capacity and go into care could be important. It would be sensible to consider preparing a letter of wishes when making a lasting power of attorney, or at least keeping such a letter with your financial documents if a deputy ever had to be appointed by the court. That way it will help provide direction to your attorney or deputy in the hope that they can give effect to your wishes. 

More information can be found here about the Court of Protection, and here for lasting powers of attorney, or if you have any specific queries please contact us on 0121 200 3242.


attorneyships, court of protection, deputyships, mental capacity, non-contentious, private client, professional deputy, senior associate, private legal services