Posted by Angus Williams, Partner
Can I sell Mum’s home to fund her care?
Question: My mother gave me Lasting Power of Attorney over her affairs. She appointed me jointly and severally with my sister, who lives in Australia. She now has dementia and needs to move into a specialist residential care home. We will have to sell her house to pay for her care fees. Can I do this on my own or do I need to involve my sister?
Answer: Those appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can sell property on behalf the person who appointed them, provided there are no restrictions set out in the LPA.
You can sell your mother’s house as you and your sister were both appointed to act jointly and severally. This means that either of you has authority to sign the sale documents and there is no requirement for both of you to sign, but you have a duty to the Court to act in your mother’s best interests.
The LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. If your mother does not have a valid LPA or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), a deputy needs to be appointed before her house can be sold.
A deputy is a person or body appointed by the Court of Protection. This needs to be done when a person has lost the capacity to make decisions in relation to their finances and they have not made, or do not have, a valid LPA or EPA.
It’s important to remember that if if there is no valid LPA or EPA, unless the Court of Protection gives specific legal authority via a deputyship, no one can legally manage your mother’s property or finances.
For further information visit our section on Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Fiona McNulty is a partner in our Residential Property, Farms & Estates team. She is also the Legal Expert for the London Evening Standard Homes & Property and has a weekly column answering readers’ questions. If you have any queries on selling a relative’s house to pay care home fees or any other property issue please contact Fiona on 01225 730 249 or email@example.com
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.
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