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Making the best of it

Is there a right answer about a client’s interests? Solicitors may reach different conclusions, but there should be a shared thought process, says Sofia Tayton

24 January 2014

The Office of the Public Guardian paid me a panel deputy assurance visit recently. This was a fairly intense process – necessarily so – and it did focus my mind on what I do when I look after the financial affairs of someone else for their benefit, and in their “best interests”.

It is clear from the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the code of practice that we are meant to have our clients’ best interests in mind in every decision we make. On a daily basis, this is easier said than done, especially as the nitty-gritty about exactly how we should do this is quite limited.

In fact, the code of practice confirms that “the term ‘best interests’ is not actually defined by the Act” and it contains only one rather brief example of how to apply best interests to property and financial affairs decisions. We are told that we need to consider the person’s p...

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