Son's power of attorney over mother's estate revoked by court
Thousands of people set up lasting powers of attorney (LPA) each year to protect their interests if they ever lose mental capacity in the future. LPAs enable you nominate someone to look after your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.
The vast majority of LPAs work exactly as intended but occasionally things can go wrong and the person appointed as attorney may try to gain some personal advantage. On those rare occasions, there are safeguards in place to protect the vulnerable.
The Office of the Public Guardian, which administers LPAs, and the Court of Protection can step in to prevent exploitation, as happened in a recent case involving a mother and her son.
In 2012, the mother appointed her son and daughter as her attorneys because she could see her health was failing due to dementia. The daughter decided to play no part in the day to day management of the mother’s affairs and left everything to the son.
In 2014, concerns were raised with the Public Guardian about the way he was using the mother’s money and property. He refused to pay the mother’s nursing home fees, claiming that she had wrongfully been denied NHS Continuing Healthcare.
He failed to provide her with an adequate allowance. He also sold her home and used the money to buy a property in his own name.
The Public Guardian applied for an order to revoke the LPA on the grounds that the son had mismanaged his mother’s affairs and not acted in her best interests.
The son contended that he was fully prepared to pay back the entire amount he had taken from his mother once the sale of his former matrimonial home had completed.
The Court of Protection ruled against him. It criticised the way he had misappropriated his mother’s money to buy a property in his own name. It also had no confidence in his assertion that he was fully prepared to pay back the money he had taken.
The court revoked the LPA and appointed the daughter and a solicitor as joint deputies instead.
Please contact Nigel Gibson-Birch or Meg Cooper if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of lasting powers of attorney and the Court of Protection.