Court of Protection: woman ‘wreaked havoc’ on mother’s finances

Family Law|April 22nd 2015

A judge in the Court of Protection has criticised a woman for the way she handled her mother’s finances.

In Re SM (revocation of a Lasting Power of Attorney), a 71 year-old appointed her 53 year-old daughter and 27 year-old grandson as her attorneys for property and financial affairs. The decision to grant lasting power of attorney was made while the woman still had the ability to make such choices for herself.

Early the following year, the woman, identified in the judgment as ‘SM’, moved into a residential care home. In November 2013, Milton Keynes Council contacted the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to inform them that SM’s care bills exceeded £9,700. Additionally, her accounts were overdrawn and “her bank statements revealed expenditure on services that she would never have required personally”.

A representative from the OPG subsequently visited SM at her care home and concluded that she had an advanced case of Alzheimer’s disease and therefore was unable to revoke lasting power of attorney herself. The OPG then applied to the Court of Protection to do this for her, claiming that neither the daughter or grandson were suitable attorneys.

Senior Judge Lush was satisfied that the daughter had “behaved in a way that contravenes her authority and is not in SM’s best interests”. He noted that SM’s care costs had risen to over £20,000 since the proceedings began.

The judge described the daughter as someone “at breaking point” who “clearly finds the responsibility of acting as an attorney overwhelming”. He added that the grandson was equally unsuitable to act as an attorney as he had allowed his mother “to wreak havoc with SM’s finances”.

Senior Judge Lush concluded by revoking lasting power of attorney from the two family members and called for an independent ‘panel deputy’ to take their place.

To read the full judgment, click here.

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