A Milton Keynes solicitor who specialised in acting for elderly and vulnerable clients has been struck off for serious dishonesty.
Susan Lowe, whose company Lowe and Co practised from offices in Newport Pagnell, misused funds belonging to incapacitated people who held her in a position of trust.
A solicitors’ disciplinary tribunal heard how the 52-year-old acted as official deputy appointed by the Court of Protection to act for clients without capacity to mange their own financial affairs.
An investigation was launched last year after relatives of clients became suspicious. Ms Lowe’s offices were suddenly closed and her accounts were scrutinised.
The tribunal heard a shortfall of more than £60,000 was discovered.
They also found memos containing “untrue” accounts of her dealings with client money.
Ms Lowe’s defence was that she “got into a muddle” and was trying to act in the best interests of the elderly people, some of whom were in care homes.
But the tribunal found she had been deliberately dishonest.
Their judgement stated: “The dishonestly was very serious as it involved the misuse of funds belonging to vulnerable clients for whom the Respondent has been in a position of trust.”
It added: “The misconduct was so serious that the most reasonable and appropriate sanction was to strike the Respondent off the roll of solicitors.”
The tribunal ordered that Ms Lowe, who has been practising since 1998, be struck off immediately and be forced to pay the £15,392 costs of the enquiry.
Ms Lowe carried out work in relation to the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, acting for people unable to make their own decisions about their finances, health or welfare.
She described herself on her website as an “experienced solicitor who has always specialised in wills, lasting powers of attorney and elder client matters.”