Q&A - My brother may be mishandling our mother's affairs, what can I do?

01/10/2011

Q.  I am concerned about my elderly mother. Although she is housebound she still has all of her mental faculties. My brother lives with her in the family home but recently my mother has told me that a couple of years ago my brother arranged for a Solicitor to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Affairs (LPA) which appointed my brother as her sole Attorney. My mother has absolutely no idea what is happening to her money and she is worried sick as there are red letters coming through the door every day. Clearly I need to do something about the situation but I am loath to confront my brother without knowing any concrete facts. Please can you advise what I should do?  

A.  Firstly check with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to see if the LPA has been registered. The Attorney may only exercise the power delegated to him or her under the LPA if it is registered. If the LPA is registered and you believe your brother has not been performing his role as Attorney properly, you could report him to the OPG. If that is not an option, as your mother still has mental capacity she could sign a Deed of Revocation to cancel the LPA and then make a new LPA appointing you as the new Attorney. You would have to contact all interested parties, including the OPG, and advise them that your mother has revoked the LPA. Then when the new LPA has been registered you can fully assume the role of Attorney. Attorneys are under a legal duty to keep records, so you should check carefully any records which your brother may have kept. You should also check the title to the family home to see if there have been any dispositions.     

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

Partner

A Partner and Part of our Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax team in Oswestry