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12 OCT 2009

VULNERABLE ADULT: ITW v Z [2009] EWHC 2525 (Fam)

(Family Division (Court of Protection); Munby J; 12 October 2009)

The vulnerable adult had transferred significant assets to the carer with whom she lived, and had made a new will and an enduring power of attorney in the carer's favour. The local authority brought proceedings contending that it was no longer in the adult's best interests to continue to live with and be cared for by the carer. Eventually the adult was moved into a care home, having no further contact with the carer or his family. The judge severely criticised the carer's approach to the adult's assets, in particular his failure to account for over £177,000 he had received from the adult over a period of about 4 years. The court-appointed deputy, supported by the Official Solicitor, sought an order authorising him to execute a statutory will for the adult, based on an earlier settled pattern of wills, entered into before the adult moved to live with the carer.

The court granted the order authorising the deputy to execute the statutory will. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 marked a radical change in the treatment of persons lacking capacity, in particular by enacting the overarching principle that any decision made on behalf of a vulnerable adult must be made in the adult's best interests. There was no place in that process for any reference to judicial decisions under the earlier and very different statutory scheme.

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