Q&A - Can I force brother to use our joint powers of attorney to sell mum’s house to pay care home fees?

Q: My brother and I are joint Attorneys for handling our mother’s affairs. She has Alzheimer’s and has lost capacity. Her GP says she needs to be in care despite me visiting every day after work. My brother, who lives just 60 miles away, only visits twice a year. I have found a lovely care home just a few miles from my house but her income would require £9,000 top-up to pay the fees. This could be managed by selling her house but my brother won’t agree to it. Is there anything I can do to take the decision out of his hands?

A: Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Attorneys are under an obligation to make decisions in the best interest of the Donor (the person who has granted the Power of Attorney) and they should do their best to agree a course of action on that basis.

If agreement cannot be reached about your mother’s care and the sale of her home then the first step is to arrange a Best Interest meeting in order to see if agreement can be reached.  This meeting should include carers, family and friends of the Donor. If, following this meeting, agreement cannot be reached then there are steps that can be taken to try and resolve the disagreement

Firstly you could seek advice from the Office of the Public Guardian about reaching an agreement. You can obtain the assistance of an Advocate to represent the interest of the Donor. You could also try and reach agreement through Mediation which is offered by some larger law firms. Social Services may also be able to assist.
Asking the Court of Protection to decide is preferable if the disagreement is about a serious issue that cannot be resolved.

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

Partner

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

Rhodd Humphreys

Rhodd Humphreys

Solicitor

Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Wrexham