Q: My mother is suffering from dementia. Fortunately she had registered a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appointing my sister as an attorney, which meant my sister was able to step in and help mum with her finances when she became unable to manage them herself. However, I am now worried that my sister might be taking some of mum’s money to spend on herself. I don’t have any proof but am suspicious as the last few times I’ve tried to call her she has not answered or replied to messages I’ve left for her to call me back. What can I do?
A: Your mother has been proactive in that she has already registered an LPA, which means that an attorney was able to assist her and deal with her finances when she could not. However, from what you have said it is perhaps not surprising that you are worried about the way your sister might be using the LPA.
An attorney must always use their powers in the best interest of the donor, i.e. your mother. If money is being misused or spent in a way that is not in your mum’s best interest, you can report your concern to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG protects people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, such as about their health and finance. It will take action where there are concerns about an attorney or deputy and look into reports of abuse against registered attorneys or deputies.
You should also consider reporting the matter to the local authority, which is required to investigate any report of financial abuse of a vulnerable adult. If you would like help getting in touch, you can instruct a solicitor to make contact on your behalf.