Family dispute how to manage dementia sufferer’s money
Two sisters have been appointed to manage the estate of their mother who is suffering from dementia.
The appointments were made by the Court of Protection despite an objection from a brother of the two sisters.
The case involved a woman who had not drawn up a lasting power of attorney stating who she wanted to look after her affairs for her if she ever lost capacity to do so herself. This created numerous problems for her and her family once she started to develop dementia.
She was unable to make rational decisions about her financial affairs yet her children could not make decisions for her. Nor could they agree on what was the best way to manage her affairs.
The woman had made a will in which she appointed her elder daughter as her sole executrix. She had savings of approximately £25,000 which she wanted to be divided equally between her children after she died.
However, that still left the problem of how to manage her affairs while she was still alive. The elder daughter and her sister applied to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their mother’s deputies so they could make decisions on her behalf.
The brother objected saying the application was made maliciously with the intention of excluding him from his mother’s affairs.
The court noted that the mother had wanted her elder daughter to be her sole executrix. There had been no effective challenge to the competence or integrity of the daughter or her sister. The elder daughter lived locally and visited her mother every week.
The court dismissed the brother’s objections and ruled that the two sisters should be appointed as their mother’s deputies.
The Court of Protection can be used in this way to appoint deputies and settle family disputes. However, it is much better and easier for all concerned if a person draws up a lasting power of attorney in advance while he or she is still fit and of sound mind. That way, they can state who they want to look after their affairs when they can no longer do so themselves.
Please contact Nicki Denton-Masih if you would like more information about lasting powers of attorney or the Court of Protection.