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Public Guardian prevents misuse of dementia sufferer's money

Posted: 18th March 2015   In: Wills, Trusts and Probate

Lasting powers of attorney (LPA) are a tried and trusted way of enabling a person to nominate someone to look after their affairs if they ever lose the capacity to do so themselves at some point in the future.

They have helped millions of families achieve peace of mind over many years.

While the vast majority of LPAs run smoothly, problems can sometimes occur. When they do, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection are in place to prevent the vulnerable from being exploited.

This was illustrated in a recent case involving an elderly woman who suffered from dementia. Before she became ill, she had set up an LPA enabling her daughter and one of her three sons to manage her financial affairs.

The Public Guardian became concerned when a gift of £15,000 was paid to the daughter from the woman’s account. Three more cheques of £20,000 each were paid to the three brothers.

The Public Guardian applied for the LPA to be revoked.

The daughter said she had given up her job to be her mother’s carer. She said her mother had agreed to help her financially and also insisted that all her four children should be treated equally.

The Court of Protection held that the gifts from the mother’s account far exceeded the amounts permitted by law. The daughter and her brother had contravened their authority as attorneys.

The judge said the court would have been sympathetic to the daughter because she was acting as a carer and would probably have awarded her a small allowance if she had applied in the correct manner, but she hadn’t done that.

The power of attorney was revoked and the local authority was appointed as the woman’s deputy to manage her property and affairs.

Please contact Josie Birnie if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to lasting powers of attorney and the Court of Protection.