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Series 2: Episode 2

An interview with David Hilton: Court of Protection

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In this episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing David Hilton, an experienced solicitor specialising in Court of Protection work and professional deputy.

In this first part of the interview, we explore the complexities of being a professional deputy and the important role that the Court of Protection plays.

Part 2 of our conversation touches on several important topics, such as the oversight that family members acting as deputies can expect, the process of changing deputies, the role of professional trusts, and the ins and outs of personal injury trusts.


Transcript: Part 1 plus symbol minus symbol

Ashwini 00:00:22 - 00:00:32

We're delighted today to be joined by David Hilton. David is a. Well, in fact, let me let me allow you to introduce yourself, David. Can you tell us about who you are and what you do?

David 00:00:32 - 00:00:41

Morning, Ashi, I'm David Hilton. I'm a solicitor specialising in Court of Protection work and professional deputy at CFG.

Aswhini 00:00:41- 00:00:44

And can you explain what a professional deputy is?

David 00:00:44 - 00:01:14

I can. A lot of people will know what an attorney is or a power of attorney, and a deputy is no different to an attorney in the sense of their role and responsibilities. But effectively, it's someone who is appointed to make decisions for those that are unable to make decisions for themselves as a result of a brain injury or illness, such as Alzheimer's or dementia. So they make decisions for people where they can't make them for themselves.

Ashwini 00:01:14 - 00:01:18

I guess those decisions can be in relation to things like health, welfare, but also financial matters.

David 00:01:18 - 00:01:44

Yeah, so capacity is time and decision specific, and it relates to all decisions that a person will be asked to make in their lives. The Court of Protection is effectively split in half, so there is a health and welfare side to the Court of Protection and there is a property and affairs side to the Court of Protection. So the decisions that I make in my role as a deputy are specific to property and financial affairs.

Ashwini 00:01:44 - 00:01:55

I think it might just help actually for our listeners to understand what the Court of Protection is, because not everyone will know what that is and of course it's a mechanism that's specific to jurisdiction we're in, so in England and Wales.

David 00:01:55 - 00:02:29

So the Court of Protection was established by the Mental Capacity Act back in 2010 and it exists, it is a Court that sits in London. It does sit in regional locations. But primarily it's dealt with on the papers and it deals with either making decisions for people who aren't able to make those decisions for themselves, or alternatively, it has the authority to appoint someone like myself or a family member as a deputy to make ongoing decisions for the person going forwards.

Brooke 00:02:29 - 00:02:56

I'd like to say I’m under the Court of Protection as well. Not with David, but with someone else and it’s been a really reassuring thing to have because if you get a sum of money, you think that you'd be OK with it, you think you'd be able to handle your financial affairs but that's I suppose that echoes in all my life - I think I can do things, but I absolutely can’t do them.

Ashwini 00:02:56 - 00:02:58

I guess it like a bit of a helping hand for you?

Brooke 00:02:58 - 00:03:42

Yeah, I mean, I've always thought that I can do things, but I can't actually do them myself. For instance, the Court of Protection, they bought my house for me. These days it tends to be parking tickets! But you know, they would come through my door and I would put them on the pile and I'd never deal with them and it's just, you know, I'd say I'll do that tomorrow, I'll do that tomorrow and then it’s been too long and you get more of a fine! It's just really nice, somebody to have there who's taking care of my affairs for me.

Ashwini 00:03:42 - 00:03:54

Yeah, I think that's quite an interesting point because I'm guessing, you know, things like dealing with the parking fines and making those decisions and especially when you're struggling with the effects of your brain injury.

Brooke 00:03:54 - 00:04:12

Just little things that you think you’re going to be fine. You think on the face of it, and then you talk to people and think ohh, you'll be fine doing that, won’t you. And you say yeah, yeah, I’d be absolutely fine doing that. But lo and behold, I won’t pay them and I'll forget to pay them. And I suppose the, you know, concentration comes into it, the memory comes into it.

Ashwini 00:04:12 - 00:04:15

Planning and execution.

Brooke 00:04:15 - 00:04:35

Exactly, yeah. And all these things that you think that you haven't got and you like to think that you deny. You spend, particularly me having a brain injury, you spend all the time pretending I haven't got a brain injury and then you know things like this come up and you realise that you absolutely have so it's, you know, it's really nice to have somebody to take care of that side of things for me.

David 00:04:35 - 00:05:34

It's interesting you say that, Brooke, because you're very insightful in terms of the effects of your brain injury and how it affects you day to day. What I will say is all clients are different. The effects of a brain injury are different and a lot of my clients aren't as insightful as you are. They don't realise their abilities or their inabilities, and being honest, there is a lot of resentment for someone like me in that role because as you quite rightly say, you think you can do it. You want to do it, but ultimately you don't. But you understand that you don't and you won't. And you appreciate the help and support that someone like me can give you. Whereas those that lack that insight find it quite a challenge to have someone like me involved making decisions or dealing with things that that have to be dealt with over and above the day-to-day. As I say every client is different.

Ashwini 00:05:34 - 00:05:51

I guess it can be quite difficult for people to sometimes accept that they need the help or just, you know, that feeling of control being taken away and we'll come on to talk about that because yeah, there will be people who will be reluctant, who have barriers put up in terms of accepting that help.

Brooke 00:05:51 - 00:06:04

Pride comes into it massively as well because you think I can do this, I can pay bills, it's absolutely fine. When you say I’ve got insight, I’ve just I come to appreciate that I fail at these things, so it’s just…

Ashwini 00:06:04 - 00:06:06

I'd like to not use the word fail I think.

Brooke 00:06:06 - 00:06:09

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought that as I said it!

Ashwini 00:06:10 - 00:06:11

Finding it challenging.

Brooke 00:06:11 - 00:06:16

I really appreciate assistance in in this area.

Ashwini 00:06:16 - 00:06:35

But I just want to come back David to you and what you were saying before about capacity and that capacity time specific and it can be decision specific. Again, I think it'd be helpful for our listeners to understand what capacity is and how someone is found to have capacity or not and how capacity can be affected by a brain injury.

David 00:06:35 - 00:08:22

So there is a legal test for capacity and it's effectively a four stage test. It's time and decision specific as we've already said and to be able to make a decision, and this goes to every decision that someone might be asked - What clothes am I going to wear today? Can I afford to spend £100 on something and it comes down to whether the person is able to understand the information that is relevant to the decision being made, whether they are able to retain that information for long enough in order to make a decision, whether they are able to weigh up the pros and cons of making the decision - Should I pay £100 or should I pay £50, and then ultimately whether they're able to communicate their decision. So someone who has a complete inability to communicate will fail the capacity test because there is no way of them communicating their decision.

Having said that, there is a code of practice that works alongside the Mental Capacity Act which effectively says that deputies and attorneys have to empower every individual to make their own decisions.

So it's not that me in my role as a deputy or anybody else in their role as a deputy or attorney is making every single decision for that person for their entire lives. It's about the decisions in question at the time that those decisions need to be made.

So if Brooke can decide to go out and drive his car and go off to the shops and do his shopping, that's absolutely fine. It's not a decision that I would want to get involved in, and Brooke has the fundamental right to go off and do what he wants to do, as long as in the eyes of the law, he has capacity to make that decision.

Brooke 00:08:22 - 00:09:24

That's the sort of level of budget I'm comfortable with handling, a shopping budget! Because yeah, it just doesn't seem to work on with anything more than that. Early days I had an occupational therapist and I just had like, a certain amount of money, like I think it was like £40 – basically the disability benefit that I got - and it was £40 and £40, these two different payments. And I would plan and I would use that and you think when I get away from this, I'll be able to just manage money easily and I'll be able to just use my card and lo and behold, what happens is I start to use my card and you just tap it and then one day it says you've got no money left. And that day comes quite soon actually!

I just think it's something I've had real trouble with budgeting my money. You see in textbooks and stuff it’s something that's quite popular after brain injury - people having trouble with budgets and like he said, I've got insight and well, I've just got insight into the fact that I just don't know how to do it.

Ashwini 00:09:26 - 00:09:29

But sometimes that's the first step. That understanding that you need that help in the first place.

Brooke 00:09:29 - 00:09:36

Absolutely, yes, so do a lot of people go on to you know, manage their own affairs after a while?

David 00:09:36 - 00:09:48

Yeah, I mean, just to say that there's a lot of people that don't have a brain injury or don't have an illness affecting their decision making that can't budget, Brooke. There's a lot of people that are in debt to credit card companies or that are declared bankrupt.

Brooke 00:09:48 - 00:09:50

I guess so, yeah.

David 00:09:50 - 00:10:49

So it's not specific to a brain injury, but there's a medical reason why you struggle with your budgeting, and that's different. And the role of the deputy is to help you and empower you and rehabilitate you to manage your own affairs. So I've had clients over the years where they've really struggled with budgeting early on and so much so that they've had to have or be given sort of daily amounts of money, because if they were given anything more than money on a daily basis, it would be gone and they wouldn't have enough for the following day or the following day. But over time and with support they've moved away from having daily monies through to having weekly monies and they'll be able to budget that money over a seven day period and then it moves to fortnightly and it then might move to monthly and suddenly we're in a situation where the client feels like they're getting paid a wage every month and they've got responsibility for managing that wage on a monthly basis.

Ashwini 00:10:49 -00:10:54

Yeah, yeah.

David 00:10:54 - 00:11:37

And again, it's taking those steps as part of that rehabilitation process to then introduce the odd bill that they might be responsible for in their own right. And before you know it, and it doesn't apply to everybody, some people, sadly, will never regain capacity, but a deputy has an ongoing duty to assess their clients capacity and if they get to a point where they can demonstrate the ability to manage their own financial affairs, then the deputy is under a duty to have themselves discharged and have that person taken away from the Court of Protection and they're back to very much where they were before their accident or before their illness.

Ashwini 00:11:37 - 00:11:46

So I guess in an ironic way, your ultimate endpoint, ideal endpoint is to kind of do yourself out of a job.

David 00:11:46 - 00:12:24

Exactly. I mean, I've done it a number of times over the years. What I what I find and I suspect if I asked Brooke this, he'd probably say the same thing. They don't want at that point in time, they don't want to get rid of someone because we are, I don't want to to say the Angel on the shoulder, but we're the person looking out for them for those bigger things that they might trip up on. And if I were to say to Brooke, you've done really, really well over the last few years, actually, I don't think you need me anymore, Brooke might say, well, no, actually, I quite like having you looking over my investments or I quite like not having to worry about paying parking fines or speeding tickets - I just send them to you and you pay them.

Ashwini 00:12:24 - 00:12:29

Yeah, or I might want to buy a house in a few years and I'm going to need your help with that.

David 00:12:29 - 00:13:18

And we become a comfort blanket to those people but ultimately in the professional sphere we are paid for what we do and we are paid out of the person’s money to make those decisions for them so fundamentally, it's not right for us to take payment for decisions that we are not necessarily making. Those clients are capable of making those decisions.

Of course, if they want to pay us with capacity because they see us as a help, like Brooke, very much sees his deputy as a help. And if Brooke were to be reassessed, he might say yeah, I'll pay you to just keep an eye on things in the background, but I'll deal with everything day-to-day. In those circumstances, I've continued acting as a trustee or someone that comes in and offers advice on an ad hoc basis to those clients.

Brooke 00:13:18 - 00:14:32

My situation is that I've got deputy but I've also got my dad as a litigation friend, it's called. He’s told me he doesn’t have total power, but generally if I want something I have to agree with it with my dad and I put that in place because I just don't trust myself, basically.

I find that I can deal with stuff, but only if I’m thinking about it, I don't know if this will makes sense. But I can deal with things, but if I'm only thinking about that one thing. Like I can, you know, if I'm only thinking about the bill, I can pay the bill, but then if something else comes into my head like relationship problems or anything, it all gets forgotten about. I suppose that’s the, what do you call it when you can’t do two things at once? Multi-tasking, yeah. I just find that anything I do I have to be concentrating solely on that thing.

I think for that reason direct debits are an absolute godsend as well. So, like, if I got all my bills there running by direct debit, so they go on in the background, but if you throw anything like a parking fine into the mix - I know I keep going on parking fines, I'm not that bad, honestly, I’m just using that as an example!

Ashwini 00:14:32 -00:14:33

You’ll see Brooke’s car parked here, there and everywhere around Manchester!

Brooke 00:14:33 - 00:14:44

Yeah, and with a clamp on it usually! No, I’m only joking! Yeah, but if you throw something like a parking fine or something like a curveball into the mix, then I usually can't deal with that.

David 00:14:44 -00:15:57

And I think going back again, Brooke, I mean you have that insight and you very much see your deputy as someone who helps you and that is the role that I try and fulfil on a daily basis. I'm there to help people to make decisions that they aren't able to make, and ultimately if they aren't able to make those decisions and I've taken all the steps to try and empower them to make those decisions then the book stops with me and I'm able in the eyes of law to make that decision on their behalf.

But it comes back to that help and it is about helping and Ashi, you touched on it before, a lot of clients do see it as control and it really isn't control. Yes, we've got a duty to make sure that the money is managed appropriately and that we're making the right decisions on behalf of the clients that we act for, but it's about helping - I'm paying your car tax so you don't get into trouble with the police and have your car clamped, and I'm going through all the legal paperwork for buying your house because there's hundreds and hundreds of pages of information that you might not be able to process and understand.

Ashwini 00:15:57 - 00:16:27

And as you said, because there's a medical reason why you'd struggle to do those things and we see that a lot in brain injury, that memory processing recall are all issues that people can struggle with, so being able to understand that information and you know, understand how that works and why the context of things and just that information overload, and then you know, as you said, Brooke, you know, just throw in a little curveball here and there that's unexpected and suddenly things that you think you might have a handle on suddenly go out the window.

Brooke 00:16:27 Speaker 1

I'm really good at just pretending that I'm fine. I can present now, like I suppose in the very early days I used to speak with a stutter and I used to speak really quietly and in a monotone way. I'd like to think I can speak to people now, and you wouldn't know that I've got a brain injury. And then people would say things to me like, you know you can. I can log on to the website, I can go and check my, check my car, I can do it. I can demonstrate I can do all these things, but then I think the problem with me is I'll just forget do to it and then I won't do it.

I'm good at pretending I can do it but I'm not good at actually doing it. So it's a really good, a really nice comfort blanket to know that somebody's watching over me.

David 00:17:14 - 00:18:22

But you're a really good example, Brooke, of sort of capacity not being black and white. I talk to people outside of my role and I talk about the clients that I deal with, and I interact with, like I do with you on a daily basis, and they look at me and they think what, they’re not lying in a hospital bed and unconscious. And people have this idea that someone with a brain injury is completely unable to make any decisions or communicate. They're surprised that my clients are emailing me or ringing me, or I'm going out and talking to them about their investment portfolios and they stop me in the tracks and say, hang on, wait, are they not, they can talk to you?

Capacity isn't black and white. There are 50 Shades of grey when it comes to capacity. There are those where sadly I will be making every decision from a financial perspective that they need to make throughout their lives and they are unlikely to ever regain capacity. But then there are others that are at the other end of the spectrum who are like you, Brooke, you would not know sitting here in front of you today that you have a brain injury.

Brooke 00:18:22 - 00:18:45

I could convince somebody that I haven't and that I’d be able to handle my own affairs. There's also like embarrassment as well because you know, you speak to your friends and you speak to people my own age and they're obviously dealing with mortgages and stuff like that and they assume that you have as well. So you just kind fake it and you just say that you have and stuff.

Ashwini 00:18:45 - 00:19:19

I think you're probably a good example of somebody who demonstrates capacity on time and decision specific way. So yeah, like you said, you know you can handle your shopping budgets and going out and buying just like the other on a day-to-day basis but bring in a bigger financial decision, one that needs a lot more careful consideration, weighing up and things being done by a certain time, if you're adding in the pressure of deadlines, etcetera, it becomes harder for you and you risk then not being able to make those decisions because it's too much.

Brooke 00:19:19 - 00:19:29

Yeah, I can only handle and think about one thing at a time. Another thing comes along and knocks that thing out of my brain and then it's just terrible.

Ashwini 00:19:29 - 00:19:30


It's like Skittles, yeah.

Brooke 00:19:30 - 00:19:32

Exactly, yeah.

Ashwini 00:19:32 - 00:19:51

I mean, David, I think it would be really helpful for our listeners to dispel some preconceptions, some myths. Are there any sort of examples that you can give us of how you've empowered clients to make decisions. Dispelling that myth of it being you controlling everything.

David 00:19:51 - 00:21:48

So there are 5 principles to the Mental Capacity Act and we've already touched on a couple of them, but the most important is best interest. Now all of my clients live their own lives, and as a deputy, it's not for me to live my life through them. So when it comes to decision making, it's about what decisions they have to make or they want to make in terms of their future.

It's not for me to decide that they should live in a three bedroom house instead of a five bedroom house. If they can afford to buy a 5 bedroom house then that's a decision that I should support in their best interests.

Similarly, I have passions in my own life that won't apply to any of my clients, but they have passions that similarly won't apply to me. And it's not for me to put down or impose my belief system on what they want to do. So if they like dogs or cats or bikes or motorbikes, that's ultimately their lives and their decisions to make and with support, I'm able to support those decisions in their best interest.

Interesting when Brooke was talking about his dad's involvement, a lot of people think the deputies make the decisions in isolation and they control my money. They control the decisions that I'm allowed to make. And that's not the case. As a deputy, we have to consult not only the client about what it is that they want to do and how they are going to get to where they want to be, but we have to consult with those around them. We have to talk to family members. We have to talk to other professionals or healthcare professionals that might be involved so that we have a real understanding of what is it that that client is doing, what is it that that client is wanting to do and ultimately what decisions am I going to be asked to make that they aren't able to make for themselves, but that will ultimately be in their best interest.

Brooke 00:21:48 - 00:22:07

I got my dad as a litigation friend put in places like an extra… I'm just scared of like, spending all the money and making really stupid decisions. So as much as I don't want to sack my dad sometimes, I do appreciate that it's just an extra like barrier that I need to go through to make a sensible decision.

Ashwini 00:22:07 - 00:22:29

What I also find really interesting, certainly working with some of my clients is that you're entitled to make unwise decisions. How does that square with the work that you do with your clients and knowing that your sort of ultimate aim is their best, but they are individuals, they are entitled to make their own decisions, you need to empower them.

David 00:22:29 - 00:23:01

Yeah, I mean, unwise decision-making is not specific to someone with a brain injury or an illness. We all make unwise decisions in our daily lives. There are still people that smoke, and all the evidence says that that's an unwise decision but people carry on doing it with full capacity. So, we've got to try and strike a balance between what is genuinely an unwise decision and what is a decision that's being made applying the legal test and absent capacity. So an unwise decision is…

Brooke 00:23:01 - 00:23:03

Buying a Lamborghini!

David 00:23:03 - 00:23:56

Yeah, so it's striking a balance between unwise decisions that are genuine with capacity and those that are not necessarily unwise decisions. They are decisions that are made without capacity, OK, but it's about risk management and when we are responsible for large amounts of money, an unwise decision becomes relative to the amount of money that we're in control of, and we're handling day to day.

So it might be an unwise decision to spend £300 on something that you could go and get for £100, but ultimately if that's proportionate to the amount of money that we're managing and there is a cost to having someone like me involved, I might allow unwise decisions without capacity to be made on the basis that ultimately it's not going to have such a detrimental effect in the longer term.

Ashwini 00:23:56 - 00:24:27

Would you then talk to your client about it afterwards and say ‘talk me through why you want to make that particular decision’. Where I'm going with that is that you’re right, we do all make unwise decisions, and there's a big thing about learning from your mistakes as well and you know, applying that learning to future decisions. So would you have those conversations reflecting with your clients about the decisions that they made, and would they make that decision again, armed with the information that they have now.

David 00:24:27 - 00:26:07

Of course, I mean talking to clients and their families is key to understanding what's in their best interests, but an unwise decision in isolation is one thing and then repeated unwise decision making potentially turns into an inability to make the decision that they were being asked to make in the first place.

An example, a client might ring and say that they've got holes in their trainers, they've seen a new pair of trainers online and they need the money sending across to them because they don't have enough in their account to do that there and then. And we send the money across to them and they ring the following day and they tell us that they've got holes in their trainers and they want £100 to buy these trainers. And we asked them well, what did you do with the 100 pounds that we sent yesterday? And they said they got distracted and they spent it on something else, and they can't remember. And what looked like or looked and felt like a capacitious decision on day one - I've got a hole in my shoes, I need money to go and buy a new pair of shoes - perfectly legitimate, suddenly turns into an incapable decision because they've not applied any recall or they've had an inability to apply recall to what it was they were asking for the money for in the first place.

So again, it goes to balance. So £100 on day one, £100 on day two, day three comes and they're ringing again. Actually, we might order the trainers for them online because yes, they do still need a pair of trainers, but every time we send them money, they spend it on something else.

Brooke 00:26:07 - 00:26:24

That links into what I was saying. That's basically what I was saying about me being able to pretend that I've got capacity, but when I actually don't. I'm able to fake that I haven't got brain injury in a particular situation like that - have this money to get the trainers - I will buy the trainers, but I might not.

Ashwini 00:26:24 - 00:26:41

But I guess it's somebody like David, who's sort of looking, standing back and looking at it in the bigger picture. So from day one you sort of, you're able to portray that you've got that ability to make that decision, but over time you, David, would be able to see that, hmm, something's not quite right here.

David 00:26:41 - 00:27:06

Yeah, I mean it, Brooke, you say fake it. I've had lists of birthdays and death anniversaries on a number of clients over the years because I'd get a call one week to say it's the anniversary of my grandma's death, can I have £40 to buy some flowers and put them on her funeral and six months later I'd get another call saying it's my grandma's anniversary of her death, can I have £40 to put flowers on…

Brooke 00:27:06 - 00:27:08

But you've got 2 grandmas, but then I suppose the third one comes up!

David 00:27:08 - 00:28:20

Yeah, yeah, and then the third one comes up on a nine month! But these are the things you say fake it, and I don't want to go so far as to say that clients ring up and lie, but ultimately, they want their money. A lot of clients just want to have the control of their money, go back to what we were saying before, you have insight into what you can and can't do and where you need that support, but that doesn't apply to all clients, so ultimately they want their money. They want to be able to spend it and again, it's about risk management and how much time or picking my battles, how much time do I spend and charge the client for arguing over decisions or release of money that ultimately is not going to make a difference because it will cost them more for me to challenge them than it will.

But I've had lists of birthdays, lists of anniversaries. I had a client who used to have a clothing allowance and he must have had 100 white T-shirts and 50 pairs of blue jeans because the list never changed. Every time we got the list for the request for his clothing allowance, it was the same list of clothes.

Brooke 00:28:20 - 00:28:22

Copy and paste, yeah.

David 00:28:22 Speaker 3

Ultimately, I know that he wasn't going out spending that money on clothes, but for me to challenge him it would have cost him more than it was accepting it.

Ashwini 00:28:32 - 00:29:03

And your role is to empower, and, as you say, people are allowed to make unwise decisions but feel empowered in doing so, I guess. What about the situation where you know you've got clients where they're vulnerable because of other pressures; family members, friends, people trying to extract money from them and them feeling powerless in a way to say no.

David 00:29:03 - 00:29:40

I mean, I was going to touch on it when we were talking before and Brooke talking about pride and sort of he'll blag it in terms of and convince people, but similarly they will try and blag it with you, Brooke and I'm sure you've had instances over the years where people have said oh you've got some money, can you give me that? And one of the stock phrases that I often use is blame Canada – South Park reference. I mean, ultimately some clients quite like the idea of saying to their family members or their friends ‘Oh, well I need to speak to my solicitor and they're not going to let me, they're not going to let me have it or speak to my dad.

Ashwini 00:29:40 - 00:29:42

Yeah, you're like the gatekeeper.

David 00:29:42 - 00:30:29

Yeah, I'm the gatekeeper. And they like that and a lot of the time for parents who might have concerns about as they get older and their child gets older, their vulnerabilities when they're no longer around, and again, it's that idea of having someone that that person can blame because it takes the pressure away from them from having to say, well, no, it's not something that I'm in control of. I can't just give you £5000 to pay off your credit card. I've got to speak to my deputy and they're going ask me what that money's for, they're going ask me and ultimately, they're going to say no and it takes that pressure away.

And again it's working with different clients. Some clients like the fact that they can blame Canada, other clients don't like the fact that they have to come to me in the first place and it's always a balance.

Brooke 00:30:29 - 00:31:08

A situation that somebody could get themselves in, which fortunately I haven't really been in myself, is that especially like early days of brain injury you find yourself, like I've had loneliness, like really, really bad loneliness and what somebody can do is if they've got money then they could like, you know offer friends to come out with them, you know, say buy them lunch just to get the company. And then it happens again, you know, then people start to expect it. And then they you find themselves getting these friends, but they're not actually friends, they’re just people who’re there for the money

Aswhini 00:31:08 - 00:31:12

Or people who use like, emotional blackmail.

David 00:31:12 - 00:32:20

Yeah, we all know the saying ‘money is the root of all evil’ - as soon as someone has money then people start to come out of the woodwork. I just want to make it clear for the listeners, that's not to say that a deputy is only required for those that have a lot of money and more often than not, a deputy isn't someone like me in a professional context - it is a family member. So as we said before, capacity can be illness, it can be age-related, it can be injury related. It doesn't have to be through a compensation claim or a personal injury or a clinical negligence. It can be someone who develops Alzheimer's in later life and in those circumstances, if they have a few thousand in savings, they've got a house, they're moving into a care home setting, it's unlikely to be someone like me that is managing their financial affairs - it's likely to be one of their children or one of their siblings, depending on how old they are, or a grandchild that might take on that role.

Transcript: Part 2 plus symbol minus symbol

Ashwini 00:00:23 - 00:00:51

What I wanted to ask was in relation to oversight over deputies. So you know, you are a professional deputy and I'm guessing that there are people that you have to answer to, account to, to show that you are doing your job correctly and you're discharging your duties as you're supposed to.

But you touched on family members, they’re sometimes taking on that role and again, what oversight is there to make sure that those people are acting in a person's best interest.

David 00:00:51 - 00:02:27

So as a deputy, we are appointed by the Court of Protection. So we receive an order, a judge makes an order appointing the person as the deputy to make decisions on that person's behalf. It is a personal appointment in that sense - it is outside of any other role and responsibilities that we have in our lives or our professional lives. You are in effect that person, in the eyes of the law and you are accountable to the Court of Protection, ultimately, and you are overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian or people might have heard, or listeners might have heard of the OPG.

And the OPG is tasked with supervising deputies and attorneys throughout England and Wales, and on an annual basis we have to file a report which is usually around 30 pages worth of information - what decisions have we made, how have we involve the client in that decision making process, how have we made sure that the client is safe and well in their own home, and we then have to account for every single penny that we have in and every single penny that we spend on behalf of the client. Those reports are sent off to the OPG or the Office of the Public Guardian on an annual basis and the OPG often comes back and says well, what did you do this for or where has this money gone? And if it doesn't balance, God forbid, the Office of the Public Guardian also has the power to remove deputies if they are failing in their duties.

Brooke 00:02:27 - 00:02:31

So the Office of the Public Guardian is a bit like the deputy’s deputy.

David 00:02:31 - 00:03:01

It is! And we recently had an assurance visit where they come out and they visit professional deputies like myself and they will go out and see clients - How is David performing in his role? Do you have enough money to live off every day or every week? Do you have any concerns about David in acting in your role? And they have the power to apply to the Court of Protection to remove that deputy and have someone else appointed.

Ashwini 00:03:01 - 00:03:03

I think they're more the sheriff than the deputy’s deputy!

Brooke 00:03:03- 00:03:08

Yeah, yeah! Well, so it's really reassuring to know that they have something there as well.

Ashwini 00:03:08 - 00:03:09

Yeah, yeah.

David 00:03:09 - 00:03:33

And one of the other things is there's also what we refer to in the industry is as a security bond, but effectively it's an insurance policy that all deputies are required to take out and that insurance policy can be called upon in situations where a deputy is defaulted in their duties and the person has suffered financial loss, so there is that that insurance protection.

Ashwini 00:03:33 - 00:03:35

Does that happen very often?

David 00:03:35 - 00:04:16

It does. I've called on the bonds a number of times over the years, not necessarily in the context of professional deputies, but that's not to say the professional deputies don't renege in their duties and clients suffer loss, but moreover it's lay people, so family members who, and we go back to money is the root of all evil. People will have the best intentions, but people might think, well, it's my mum and I’m their only child and I'm going to inherit their estate when they die. So actually I'll pay for my holiday this year out of their money because it's money that I would have otherwise have had when they died and suddenly the OPG come in.

Ashwini 00:04:16 - 00:04:52

Or sometimes it could just be that, you know, yeah, it's my mum but I'm getting all sorts of pressure from other family and at the end of the day we are family. Whereas, I guess as a professional deputy, you've got that objectivity, you're much more removed. So in some ways you have less pressures attendant on you than a lay deputy could have. I'm not saying that all lay deputies will have those issues, but yeah.

I suppose I'd want to know is what support is there for lay deputies so that they can do that job to the best of their abilities, in that person's best interest.

David 00:04:52 - 00:06:29

The support is the Office of the Public Guardian, so the Office of the Public Guardian is there to not only supervise deputies but also support them in their role. Like any government department, though, the Office of the Public Guardian is understaffed and there are thousands, there are tens of thousands of people acting in the role of either attorney or deputy for people that lack capacity throughout the country, and there are times where that support won't be as freely available because of staffing levels and government budgets.

But it's there, but they're not there to give legal advice to lay deputies or professional deputies, they're there to support them. And ultimately it goes back to the Court of Protection if it becomes a legal issue.

So there is support available. But I think if I say to anybody who's looking to take on the role of a deputy or an attorney, whether it's in the lay context or a professional context, we've all got our life admin to deal with.

Like Brooke says, he'll get the letter, he'll put it on the side because of Brooke’s brain injury, he will forget about it or he'll not deal with it because he's dealing with something else that's come up and he struggles to multitask, but we all have that problem in our life admin. That's the role that we're doing for other people.

So what I would say is you really need to sort of understand the responsibility and the level of responsibility that's placed on you as a deputy or an attorney. You've not only got to sort your own life admin out, but you've got to sort other people's life admin out.

Ashwini 00:06:29 - 00:06:29

You’ve got be very organised.

David 00:06:29 - 00:08:15

You've got to get their tax returns done just as much as you might need to get your own tax returns done. You've got to pay their bills as much as you've got to pay your own bills and unlike what we do in our own lives, you've got to account to the Office of the Public Guardian for every single penny, every decision that you make.

So it isn't something that you should enter into lightly. And I often talk to family members who want to be deputy for their family member and I often say to them that you need to understand that there is a level of responsibility over and above what you want to do for your parents or your sibling, or whoever it might. And don't go into this purely from a sense of ‘I have to do this because that's my dad’ or ‘I have to do this because it's my mum’. You need to go into it with your eyes open.

And there are people like me that do do the role in a professional context and if you feel that you can't do that role or you can't fulfill that role, don't feel guilty that you are passing it to someone else because the pressures that will come on you will come on you and there, as I say, it's a court appointment. You will go back to court if you fail, you will be investigated by the Office of the Public Guardian if you start to do things that raise red flags in front of the office of the Public Guardian.

I've had a number of instances over the years where there's police involvement, there's social services involvement from a safeguarding perspective. And attorneys and deputies have been removed because they've not done what they were supposed to do. Nine times out of 10 I think they genuinely did it for the right reasons. One in 10, it's a police matter and it's actually theft.

Ashwini 00:08:15 -00:08:17

Yeah, and it's sad, but it happens.

David 00:08:17 - 00:08:38

But even the most genuine of reasons in the eyes of the law. We go back to what we're talking about today, it's the Court of Protection, it is there and exist to protect those that aren't able to make decisions for themselves. So the most genuine of reasons can still fall foul of the law.

Ashwini 00:08:38 - 00:09:16

We often get questions from people enquiring, clients asking about potentially changing deputies, what can I spend my money on, how much is it.

Cost is actually something I wanted to pick up on because you spoke before about, you know you as a professional deputy, you're being paid by your clients from their monies and you have to pick your battles in terms of which decisions you're going to push or not.

But just for our listeners and thinking both from the context of a lay deputy as well as a professional deputy, what are the kind of costs that somebody might face? You've mentioned security bonds, for example. So, you know, can you give us some idea of some specific items?

David 00:09:16 - 00:10:21

I mean, there are fees that have to be paid. So when you first apply to the Court of Protection, you have to pay an application fee and it changes each year, but it's around £350 to £400 per application that you make. When you get appointed as a deputy, you have to pay £100 to have your name added to the Register of Deputies for the Office of the Public Guardian, there's the security bond or the insurance policy that we talked on, that's paid annually over five years and that can vary depending on how much money is actually being managed by the deputy. So if it's a smaller amount of money being managed then that insurance premium will be lower. If it's a multi million pound compensation claim, then that insurance premium is going to be higher.

There's also a supervision fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian, which is paid annually. There are remissions or reliefs that you can get if you're in receipt certain benefits, but generally speaking, it's £300 odd for the Office of the Public Guardian fee again year on year.

Ashwini 00:10:21 - 00:10:29

Sorry, the remission, is that if it's the deputy that's in receipt of benefits, or if it's the person whose finances are being managed? it's if the person, it's the person.

David 00:10:29 - 00:10:43

It’s the person whose finances are being managed. So if that particular client is in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit because they can no longer work, then that may qualify for a remission of the supervision fee.

Ashwini 00:10:43 - 00:10:43


David 00:10:43 - 00:11:17

In terms of professional deputies charging, we're all bound by the Office of the Public Guardian and Senior Court costs office guidance as to what we can charge and how we charge. All deputies charge in accordance with the guideline hourly rates, depending on the location and that is effectively a four tier charge out rate for deputies and solicitors who are more than seven years qualified at grade A, then grade B, grade C and then grade D and as you go down.

Ashwini 00:11:17 - 00:11:17

Grade D being non qualified.

David 00:11:17 - 00:11:53

Grade D being a non qualified, potentially an accounts assistant in a professional context or an administrator and it's not for me in my role to look at a gas bill and charge grade A rates for looking at the gas bill and paying the gas bill. I've got a duty as a professional deputy to delegate my responsibilities to a more appropriate level of, we use the word fee earner in the industry, but someone else more appropriate and paid an hourly rate more appropriate to the task that they're doing.

Ashwini 00:11:53 - 00:11:55

We don't take a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

David 00:11:55 - 00:12:33

Exactly. So we're all obliged to charge the same hour rates depending on our location and every year as a professional, we have to send our costs and our files to the senior courts cost office for those files to be assessed. So if I were to say that it had cost £10,000 pounds in a year to manage someone's property and finances, that would go to the senior courts costs office and if they came back and said it was £8,000 then I'm only allowed to charge £8,000. So there's that added layer of oversight on the fees that we as professional deputies take.

Ashwini 00:12:33 - 00:12:58

I guess that's of some reassurance then, to people who are potentially facing having to have a deputy and the Court of Protection knowing that they've got the OPG, the Office of the Public Guardian, who are supervising the deputies to make sure that they're doing their job properly, but also in the case of professional deputies that you've got the SCCO looking at the costs that they're charging, making sure that those charges are appropriate and not over inflated.

David 00:12:58 - 00:14:33

And I think one thing to add in the in the context of a compensation claim and you know this far better than I do Ashi, the costs of a professional deputy can be claimed as a separate head of loss within the compensation claim itself. So, if the evidence is that a client needs a professional deputy for 10 years, and that is likely to cost £10,000 per year, then in theory there will be £100,000 recovered within their compensation claim to pay for the likes of someone like me. OK, now that doesn't mean that I'm free to charge £10,000 and take the £100,000 over the 10 years. If it works out that it's £5,000 a year for 10 years, then there's £50,000 in that compensation claim that can go on something else.

But conversely, if there's not enough money, then we're then starting to eat into other areas of the compensation claim itself. Again, it's a balance, but ultimately the professional deputy is the one that manages that compensation claim and they will be looking at not only their own costs and how they were calculated within the claim context, but the costs of maybe a case manager or a dietician, or a physio going forwards and it's always about sort of looking at what was claimed, what's being spent. Can we carry on spending that amount of money? Do we need to spend more? It's just looking at it as a whole.

Ashwini 00:14:33 - 00:15:18

Sometimes I think as well we know that someone perhaps has capacity, but needs additional help or you might find certain large financial transactions difficult to deal with and we've come across situations where certain in the litigation context where we've got experts suggesting that a person has a professional trustee. Can you talk to us just generally about what a professional trustee does, a personal injury trust, and I should just specify here that this is only in relation to people that do have compensation claims, these aren't mechanisms that exist generally. But how a professional trustees role might differ from a professional deputies role. What a personal injury trust is, as well.

David 0:15:18 - 00:16:40

OK, so a personal injury trust is effectively a legal mechanism that entitles someone who is in receipt of compensation whilst also being in receipt of means tested benefits or statutory funding, preserving their entitlement to both. Nine times out of 10, it applies to someone with capacity and smaller amounts of compensation or amounts of compensation that would be in excess of the current capital thresholds for means testing. And if they weren't to place that compensation into a trust, then they would lose their entitlement to benefits.

The Trust itself is a legal document. It effectively gives control of the compensation from the person receiving it to at least two people, and, more often than not that is, the client and their spouse or partner or family member, and that control is then passed to the trustees and the trustees make decisions in relation to the compensation within the Trust Fund and release money in the beneficiaries best interest.

It's not governed by a separate tax regime. It’s like having money in a joint account where you both need to sign for it, so that's effectively what the PI Trust is. It's a way of preserving entitlement to benefits, but you do give away sole control of the money that you receive.

Ashwini 00:16:40 - 00:16:43

Yeah, it's a legal having your cake and eating it.

David 00:16:43 - 00:17:52

It is having your cake and eating it. In the context of a of a professional trustee, we talked before about no client being the same and capacity being 50 Shades of grey. And in the role of a deputy, you can be micromanaging someone’s financial affairs where they completely lack all decision making capacity, all the way through to the other end of the spectrum where you are effectively just making bigger decisions.

So what I often say to clients is a deputy can be the full orchestra and the conductor, depending on the clients individual capacity, so I may be playing second fiddle for those that can't make decisions for themselves, for those that are more able to make most decisions for themselves, I'm in that conductor role.

As a professional trustee, you should only be within the professional conductor role. Ultimately, the client has capacity to make those decisions for themselves. They should be dealing with their own bills, their own financial affairs. But in that role as professional trustee, you are assisting in the bigger decisions that need to be made, so you are effectively conducting the orchestra.

Ashwini 00:17:52 - 00:18:06

That's a really good analogy. I guess as a co-trustee, you might be a page turner almost! You know, not even conducting the orchestra. It's just sort of, I guess an additional safeguard because the trust requires more than one trustee.

David 00:18:06 - 00:18:10

It goes back to what we said before, it's the blame Canada situation.

Ashwini 00:18:10 - 00:18:11

Yeah, true.

David 00:18:11 - 00:19:16

If you have a professional trustee and people are putting pressure on you or there are pressures to spend money in places that you don't want to spend it, there is someone else that is there to question that decision and make you stop and think. I suppose it’s a sounding board. I've got an idea, I think I might want to do this, OK, well, let's talk about it, let’s see whether it's a good idea.

Ultimately though, the one thing I will say is PI Trusts are not a panacea, and the appointment of a professional trustee is not a panacea to someone who has or struggles with decision making. Within the Trust deed itself the beneficiary has the right to remove their trustees and appoint new trustees whenever they want to. So it's certainly in the legal context, having a professional trustee does not avoid people being taken advantage of, because if that person still has capacity, they can remove the professional trustee if they disagree with them and appoint someone who agrees with them.

Ashwini 00:19:16 - 00:19:25

And I'm guessing because that person has capacity there isn't the same requirement for oversight in the same way that you would Have for a deputyship.

David 00:19:25 - 00:20:03

No, there's very minimal oversight. I mean, professional trustees or trustees in general have fiduciary duties or not set out in law, but general duties that they have to have to adhere to and they're governed by the Trustee act and there's certain things that they have to do. They're not allowed to put their own interest first. They've got to take appropriate financial advice in terms of the trust management.

But there isn't that separate government body that’s providing oversight. There isn't an insurance policy backing it up. So again, for the listeners, if you are going to have a personal injury trust, choose your trustees wisely.

Ashwini 00:20:03 - 00:20:04

And make sure you trust them!

David 00:20:04 - 00:23:10

And make sure you trust them!

I'm conscious Ashi, that one of the questions that you asked me was how do we change deputy and I think we got distracted on fees and importantly so that we are as professionals are charging fees, so it's important that the listeners know that that those fees are paid, but there is an element of oversight.

But ultimately, if you aren't happy with your deputy, then the first route for all clients that I talk to, who might approach me and say that they would like a different deputy being appointed whether that's a family member or me in my role, or someone who doesn't want to work with me anymore. The first route is to have a conversation with your deputy. Try and iron out the issues that you have. Try and meet with an amicable resolution. So talk to them, get them to understand your point of view, allow them the opportunity to explain their point of view.

It may well be that there's a lack of information or a lack of understanding, or a misunderstanding that's occurred as to what the deputy can and can't do or what it is that the family want the deputy to do.

So, the first route is to at least have a conversation because if it is a professional deputy, that is going to cost the less or least amount of money, having the conversation, working through the issues will be the cheapest option that you have.

You then have an option to go to the Office of the Public Guardian and ask them to conduct an investigation and the Office of the Public Guardian, ordinarily, in the first instance, write out to the deputy to say we've had concerns raised by whoever it is and please can you answer these?

Now, I personally don't hold great faith in the Office of the Public Guardian writing to professional deputies raising those concerns because ultimately if I was asked why have you done XY and Z, I would go back and I would say I've done them because of XY and Z reasons and there's no three way conversation going on. It's literally, these are the allegations that have been made against you and what I've seen in practice is deputies will go back and say, yes, we've taken all steps that we needed to take. We've talked to the family. It's wrong that they say that we haven't talked to them or we've done all of these things and ultimately you're left without a resolution.

So the Office of the Public Guardian is there to investigate, but ultimately it doesn't prove to resolve the issues. In my experience, it's far better to have that conversation with your deputy yourself and know that you're asking the questions and you're hearing what they have to say to you, not through a third party.

Ultimately, you can change a deputy by applying to the Court of Protection, but the only way that a deputy can be changed is through a court order and an application to the court. So it goes back to the reason why I said speak to the deputy first.

Ashwini 00:23:10 - 00:23:22

And presumably with the application you'd need to set out specific reasons as to why you are seeking that change in appointment, and that it is the right thing to do, or to try and persuade the court it’s the right thing to do.

David 00:23:22 Speaker 3

Yes, it goes back to what we talked about earlier. Every decision that a deputy makes or the Court of Protection makes has to be in the person's best interests. And a change of deputy has to be justified through the court process as being in that person's best interest. So you have to demonstrate through usually a supporting witness statement within the proceedings all the reasons why it's in that person's best interest to have a new deputy appointed.

It does happen where the deputy refuses to step down and you can end up before a judge in court, giving evidence as to why that person should be removed as deputy. I always try to resolve the issues or ask the clients to look to resolve the issues or speak to the deputy themselves to say look, this isn't going to serve anyone’s purpose by going to court, arguing over whether you're to blame or whether they're to blame. Ultimately, if there has been a breakdown in the relationship, it's in everyone's interest for that to start again and for a new deputy to be appointed.

But it can and does result in court proceedings where the deputy won't let go because they feel they've not done anything wrong. And I've had a number of experiences over the years where I've sought to agree a transfer of deputyship and ultimately they've said no, we're not doing that and I’ve then looked at what's in the clients best interests and decided that actually I'm not going to go to court over what might just be sort of a falling out or a disagreement over a certain thing.

It's got to be when you are talking about, I mean an application to the Court of Protection could cost you a couple of £1000 plus VAT if you are talking going to attended court hearings, you are in the 10s of thousands of pounds on both sides.

Again, don't think that you can just change your deputy without incurring cost and the other thing to think about is the costs that are associated in the transfer after a new deputy is being reported.

Ashwini 00:25:34 - 00:25:37

Yeah, because I'll have to review everything.

David 00:25:37 - 00:26:06

They have to take over all the bank accounts, they have to renew all the direct debits, they have to write to the local authority for your Council tax, they have to write to the car to get your car taxed, DWP, your benefits. So there's a cost incurred in actually transferring the management of that person's affairs.

So again, if you can resolve those issues with the deputy that you have at the time, you will save money going forwards.

Ashwini 00:26:06 - 00:26:30

But I guess it's also not to say that you know if there is a problem, you should avoid addressing it, because it's going to be a costly process because sometimes it's the right thing to do.

Have you ever come across situations where they've been almost vexatious applications by family members who've wanted to get rid of you as professional deputy not necessarily with any sort of foundation - just simply that they want to get rid of you?

David 00:26:30 - 00:28:39

Personally, I have never stepped in the way of a client wanting to change their deputy from me. And that's because it is a personal appointment to me, not only in the context of it being my name on the order, but also I live and breathe my clients financial affairs, I know their pet’s names, I know what's wrong with their houses having read through the survey reports, I know how long it's going to be before their money runs out, I know when their tax deadline is. The role of a deputy is so involved in a person's life, it is about the relationship that you can build with that person over the time. And if that relationship breaks down, then that's just going to make what is already a difficult job, much harder.

So I've never stood in the way of anyone who says I can't work with you anymore because if I'm going to argue with them or we're going to argue over decisions that I'm making, believing those to be in the person's best interests, it's only going to add to the costs and if they have someone or they’ve found someone that they feel that they can work with better, then so be it.

Similarly, though or conversely, I should say, I have come across people who and there is a phrase in the industry ‘deputy shopping’, and there are people who will have a deputy, they won't get what they want, or the family invariably won't get what they want, and they change deputies.

And then another couple of years goes by and they find somebody else and quite recently I've come across a situation whereby the Court of Protection has refused the appointment of a replacement deputy for a period of five years because ultimately it is a Court authorised appointment. The Court doesn't appoint the deputy lightly and it's not for the deputy or the family or the client to just say I've had enough, we're going to go somewhere else.

Brooke 00:28:39 - 00:28:42

Where would you go deputy shopping?

Ashwini 00:28:42 - 00:28:45

To the Deputy supermarket!

David 00:28:45 - 00:28:51

There's lots of us out there, there are thousands of professional deputies out there, Brooke.

Brooke 00:28:51 - 00:28:51

Not that I'm thinking of changing by the way!

David 00:28:51 - 00:29:45

We're all different. We all have different reasons and motivations for why we do the job that we do. We all have different levels of experience. No two deputies are the same, just as no two clients are the same. And throughout my career I've looked at clients and thought you're probably not or I'm probably not the best fit for you or someone else might be a good fit for you. As I've worked through my career as a solicitor and sort of moving up the ranks, Yeah, you and I clash, so let's look at someone else that might work better with you because ultimately, we're doing it for a reason and there is a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. So if I'm not right, there are other deputies out there that that might be right for you.

What I will say and of course, I'm going to say this is, the grass isn't always greener.

Brooke 00:29:45 - 00:30:01

What was originally pitched to me in a brain injury friendly way was that the reason you needed deputy is you don't make some stupid decisions such as going to buy a bright green Lamborghini, which might be cool on the first day, but you know, six months later you realise it's a massively depreciating asset.

Ashwini 00:30:01 - 00:30:05

Especially if you can't drive.

Brooke 00:30:05 - 00:30:09

Yeah, especially when you can’t drive – that would be an issue! But have you ever had any mad requests like that?

David 00:30:09 - 00:30:11

I've had lots of weird and wonderful requests, yes.

Brooke 00:30:11 - 00:30:12

I imagine.

David 00:30:12 - 00:30:46

And I say weird and wonderful - when I started the whole sort of podcast today with saying that every client's different and it's not for me to live my life through them. And the reason I'm saying weird and wonderful is because it's not something that I personally buy, but I've had a request for a few £1000 for a blue velvet sequin tuxedo, which I thought was… this was someone who was in a residential rehab setting and wasn't going to go anywhere, unfortunately, that required a blue sequined velvet tux.

Brooke 00:30:46 - 00:30:47

There's a moment of sadness to that though, isn’t there?

David 00:30:47 - 00:31:00

There is, and ultimately every request that I that I get, be it weird and wonderful or mundane, invariably, it's not the client, it's the client's brain injury that's making the request.

Brooke 00:31:00 - 00:31:03


David 00:31:03 Speaker 3

I've gone by many different names over the years. I've gone by money man, deputy Dave, Money Bags, bank manager, accountant, names I won't repeat on the podcast that aren't as aren't as nice, but ultimately, it's the brain injury or it's the illness that's talking to me. People have sworn at me. People have threatened to come and stab me if I don't give them their money. I've been to Strangeways. I've been to different prisons throughout the years to see clients. It's not them. I've had conversations with parents who have been upset because they're their son or their daughter has spoken to me in a certain way - it’s not their daughter or their son - it's the brain injury or the illness that they have that's making them speak in that way. And I do take it personally at times, but I don't take it personally to them. It's not that person, it's not the person they were. But I have to appreciate and understand that it's the person that they are today.

David 00:32:11 - 00:32:45

So the question was - so blue velvet sequined tuxedo. I've had numerous requests for plastic surgery over the years - that's quite common. Flash cars, like you say, Lamborghini, that's usually one. Bigger houses than they really need.

But I mean, ultimately going back to what we said, each client has their own lives, each client lives their own lives. Whatever their passions are they will invariably come to me to ask me to fund whatever passion it is that they have.

Ashwini 00:32:45 - 00:32:56

And it's not for you to impose any judgment on that.

Maybe the guy was going to an Austin Powers event in his home, who knows?

David 00:32:56 - 00:33:49

I think in that particular circumstance it was very much, and I don't know whether I'm using the right word, but psychosomatic - the idea of spending his money and that was what he wanted, would make him feel better and some control over what he was spending.

So yeah, like I say, there's been lots and lots of things say the flowers for grandma's graves on three occasions throughout the year will always stick in my memory.

And I've been involved in money laundering investigations where clients have been taken advantage of and that's becoming more and more apparent in the world we live in now with Instagram and social media - people are making friends in inverted commas online and my clients are giving away their bank details and suddenly we've got the police involved.

Ashwini 00:33:49 - 00:33:52

Have you had any requests to invest in Bitcoin yet?

David 00:33:52 - 00:34:11

I have and it's something that has formed part of portfolios of investments previously, not any longer.

But I mean when it comes to investment Ashi, it's don't have all your eggs in one basket so you will have stocks and shares and guilds and bonds and…

Aswhini 00:34:11 - 00:34:16

No, of course not.

David 00:34:16 - 00:34:25

All the rest of it, and you might have some bitcoin, you might have some property, you might have some car park spaces. But it's about having a mixed bag.

Ashwini 00:34:25 - 00:35:01

Great , well, thank you, David. I think that's been really, really helpful. I'm sure our listeners will find it fascinating and I'm hoping as well, that it will have dispelled some common myths and preconceptions about what the role of the deputy is, and the fact that you're not there to prevent people from accessing their money. If anything, you're there to help them, to empower them to make decisions for themselves so that they can regain some control, particularly after often a very traumatic and life changing event. So once again, thank you very much David for joining us today.

David 00:35:01 - 00:35:02

Thank you for having me.

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