Two sisters who “detest each other” have lost joint power of attorney over their 97 year-old mother.
In Re ED, the elderly woman suffered from dementia and had been living in a specialist residential care unit in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire since January 2015.
Under the Mental Capacity Act, people who fear they may someday lose the ability to make decisions for themselves, through age, illness, or disability, can appoint someone to do it for them. This gives the appointed person ‘lasting power of attorney’.
In this case, the woman, identified in the judgment as ‘ED’, appointed both of her adult daughters to be her attorneys in 2007 should her mental health decline. One potential issue with that arrangement was that the daughters had only “been in the same room together on five occasions during the last five years” and even then had not spoken to each other.
ED’s youngest daughter did not like the fact that her sister had placed their mother into care without first consulting her. She claimed that she now had to drive a significantly greater distance to see ED than she did before her placement.
Her eldest daughter had also provided false information in her application to be registered as joint attorney. When the Office of the Public Guardian brought this matter to the Court of Protection, Senior Judge Lush said that anyone who “dishonestly attempts to undermine the registration procedure” in such a manner “is unsuitable to be the donor’s attorney”.
However, the “intense acrimony” between the two would “almost certainly have a negative impact on the administration of ED’s estate”, he added. The judge said neither daughter would make a suitable attorney and revoked their appointment.
He ruled that an independent ‘panel deputy’ be appointed to manage ED’s property and financial affairs.
To read the full judgment, click here.