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Elderly Persons (Private Institutions)

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Attorney-General what consideration the Lord Chancellor has given to the suggestion that legislation should be introduced to require the registration of all private institutions in which elderly persons are cared for, including in particular provisions to prevent persons either owning or on the staff of such institutions from being eligible to benefit from the persons in their care, either by way of gifts or bequests.

I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given on 31 January 1980 by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services, who has responsibility concerning the registration of private institutions for the elderly.—[Vol. 977, c. 750.] Not all dispositions made in the circumstances mentioned are necessarily improper or even undesirable. Those which are improper are likely to be affected by the law of undue influence, fraud or want of testamentary capacity. The Lord Chancellor is not persuaded that these rules of law, coupled with the availability of the services of the Court of Protection and the Official Solicitor, are not the best means of safeguarding the interests of patients.