Resolving Guardianship Disputes Solicitors York, Wetherby & Malton
Unfortunately, disputes can arise following the appointment of a guardian of a missing person. Disagreements can happen between the guardian and members of the missing person’s family, for example regarding the way the guardian has dealt with finances. Disputes can also involve a professional organisation, such as a bank.
Disputes must be resolved quickly and effectively, to avoid additional stress and cost during these difficult circumstances. Here we provide an overview of the ways to deal with a guardianship dispute.
Mediation can be used to achieve a resolution at an early stage, using a process that is more informal and cost-effective, and less stressful than court proceedings. An independent professional will be appointed to help you and the other party come to an agreement that is in the missing person’s best interests and that is acceptable to both parties. Mediation is often beneficial when those involved are struggling to communicate or understand the other’s point of view, and it can help to preserve important relationships.
Complaints to the Ombudsman
If the dispute is with a professional service provider, it may be possible to take the matter to the relevant Ombudsman, such as the Financial Ombudsman. These bodies deal with complaints about professional organisations and help you to settle disputes outside the courtroom. However, you should attempt to solve the problem with the organisation first, and if that fails its regulatory body (for example the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)), before raising a complaint with the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
If a dispute cannot be resolved either by the parties themselves or through mediation, those wishing to raise a complaint about a guardian can contact the OPG. This is an executive agency with responsibility for registering and supervising guardians. They can be contacted if you have concerns about the way a guardian is managing the missing person's money or property.
The High Court
If a resolution can still not be achieved, you can apply to the High Court for a ruling on the dispute. You can only make an application if you have sufficient interest in the missing person’s property or financial affairs – this includes spouses, civil partners, parents or siblings of the missing person, as well as the guardian themselves.
Contact our Specialist Missing Person Team Yorkshire
Our specialist Missing Persons Team, Emma Elwess, Elizabeth Dunn, Sarah Collier and Laura Carter are on hand to provide you with advice on all matters relating to guardianship orders and missing persons. Call us today on 01904 929143 (York) or 01937 223259 (Wetherby) or 01653 916408 (Malton), or complete our online enquiry form.