Power of attorney stripped from arguing siblings

Family Law|May 1st 2015

Two siblings have been stripped of responsibility for their elderly mother by the Court of Protection.

In Re EL(revoking a Lasting Power of Attorney), the siblings’ 91 year-old Greek mother had inherited a property in Athens from her parents which she still owns and rents out. Aside from that, she was reported to have various assets worth £300,000.

In 2009 she was diagnosed with dementia, so signed a lasting power of attorney for her son and daughter to act on her behalf when it came to her finances and property. Two years later, she moved into a Bournemouth residential care home.

Senior Judge Lush noted that the siblings “don’t see eye to eye and neither of them trusts the other”. He said that they had frequently argued about which of them was better suited to deal with their mother’s finances and health needs. Since 2012 they had both attempted to have the other’s power of attorney revoked.

In late 2014, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) applied to have both siblings’ power taken away. The OPG, which is responsible for protecting people who cannot make decisions for themselves, claimed that both of the woman’s children had mishandled her finances.

They cited the fact that the siblings had withdrawn over £42,000 from one of their mother’s accounts between them. Both claimed they account was part of their inheritance and believed “that they are entitled to dip into it during her lifetime”.

Senior Judge Lush did not agree. He ruled that they had “contravened their authority by making gifts to themselves from their mother’s funds” and had “behaved in a way that is not in [her] best interests”. Therefore he revoked their power of attorney and ordered that a deputy panel be appointed in their place.

To read the full judgment, click here.

Photo of Athens, Greece by Juan Salmoral via Flickr

Author: Stowe Family Law

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