December 17, 2015

Man loses responsibility for his mother’s affairs

The Public Guardian v AM was a case relating to a Dutch woman who had moved to England with her husband more than 50 years ago. The couple had one son, identified only as AM in court papers, and the husband died in the mid-1980s.

Four years ago, the woman was diagnosed with dementia and subsequently moved into a care home. By this point she had already made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which handed responsibility for her property and affairs to AM.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Public Guardian applied for a court order following concerns about the son’s handling of his mother’s finances.

Several allegations were made about AM, including the claim that he had misappropriated funds following the sale of his mother’s home and that he had also withdrawn in excess of £136,000 from the woman’s bank accounts.

By this stage, her condition had deteriorated to the point that she no longer recognised her own son and a visit by the Court of Protection confirmed she didn’t have the mental capacity to withdraw the LPA.

The man had denied the accusations that he had acted contrary to his mother’s best interests, and argued that she would have approved of his actions.

However, the Court of Protection agreed that the man should be replaced with an official deputy.

Senior Judge Denzil Lush said: “I am satisfied that the respondent has behaved in a way that contravenes his authority and is not in the donor’s best interests. He has broken virtually every rule in the book.”

For advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection deputyships, please contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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