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Court of Protection strips sons of Power of Attorney
Obvious tensions between two men who had previously been appointed to oversee their elderly mother’s finances meant that they were no longer capable of acting as attorneys, a Judge recently ruled.
The mum-of-four, who lives in the West Country, had made a Lasting Power of Attorney which handed responsibility to the eldest and youngest of her sons, and a solicitor.
The retired teacher had given explicit instructions that she did not want to enter a nursing home and also that any decision to sell her two properties could only be made if at least two of her attorneys were in agreement.
However, a little over 12 months later, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) made the decision to step in amid concerns that apparent resentment between the two sons was causing a number of problems.
By this stage, the men’s mother had been diagnosed with vascular dementia and it was decided that she lacked the capacity to continue to manage her own affairs.
The OPG argued that in light of the “longstanding difficulties” between her sons, the Lasting Power of Attorney that had previously been made should be revoked and the woman’s daughter should be appointed as an attorney instead – despite the fact that she now resides in Australia.
While both men had objected to this application, Judge Denzil Lush, sitting in the Court of Protection, agreed that the arguments between the individuals meant that they were no longer capable of acting in their mother’s best interests.
“This LPA is not functioning satisfactorily because the animosity between the two remaining attorneys…has created an impasse, which is having an adverse effect on the management of [the woman’s] property and financial affairs,” he said.
For the moment, the woman’s daughter has been appointed as a temporary attorney, although the Judge said that further assessments should be carried out to determine if the mother was capable of revoking the Lasting Power of Attorney herself.
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