Q: My 93-year-old widowed mother appointed me as sole attorney to her LPA. She now cannot look after herself but wants to remain in her own home with live-in carers, which I pay a private agency for with her savings. My sister in Australia sees this as a threat to her inheritance. She wants mother in a care home, and her house sold to pay for it whilst property values are high. When I refused to discuss this, she visited mother with a friend and to save embarrassment and a falling-out, mother signed the documents making my sister joint attorney. Now my sister is trying to force the care home issue. What can I do?
A: As joint attorneys, every decision about your mother’s needs must be made jointly and unanimously between you and your sister. If your mother still has capacity and is willing to do so, a deed of revocation could be prepared so that this LPA could be revoked. As you are already named sole attorney in a previous LPA you could carry on acting using that authority already conferred to you.
If your mother wants both of you appointed, she can prepare a new LPA appointing you attorneys jointly and severally and arrange for the revocation of previous LPAs. In this type of appointment attorneys can make decisions together, or just one can make a decision alone. Alternatively, the attorneys can act jointly for certain specified decisions, and alone for others.
If you suspect someone is abusing their position as an attorney under an LPA, you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian who may advise applying to the Court of Protection if the donor is still alive. The Court of Protection can for example order that the LPA is revoked.
You should perhaps seek the help of a solicitor to resolve any issues you have with the LPA set-up, especially if you believe your mother was coerced.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194