Column: "I don’t think my sister is acting in our Mum’s best interests"
At Providence Will Protect we offer a free consultation, providing initial legal advice with reassurance of full confidentiality. We do this because we are aware of the daunting costs faced by ordinary people in need of professional help.
In this article we are looking at an example of a question we have received in the last couple of weeks. A question similar to the many questions we get asked.
What you read below is an example of a scenario similar to one posed by a client. The question has been edited somewhat to protect the privacy of the individuals.
“Our mother became frail and asked me to arrange a lasting power of attorney to handle her affairs as my sister lives abroad. She decided that her preference was be cared for in her own home, so I arranged for private carers to visit daily.
However, before the Covid pandemic began my sister demanding that she be made joint attorney with me so that I could not make decisions alone.
More recently I have suggested live-in care and mum likes the idea, but my sister says it is unnecessary. I think she wants to keep mother's money in her estate. What can I do?”
All attorneys have a duty to act in the donor's best interests at all times, and to consider the needs and wishes of the donor as far as possible. In your mother's case it seems her wish is to have a live-in carer. Further, donors should not take advantage of their position to gain any benefit for themselves, including preserving donor funds for their own future benefit.
If you are unable to get your sister to agree that a live-in carer is what your mother needs and wants, you could challenge her appointment as an Attorney through the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG can investigate whether her actions are in your mother's best interests and if necessary can apply to the Court of Protection to take action against your sister.
This is however clearly a delicate situation as you will not want to upset your mother. In the first instance it may therefore be worth seeking advice from a solicitor who could write to your sister pointing out her legal responsibilities as a donor and to show that you have legal support and cannot be railroaded.
If you are finding yourself in a difficult situation with the protection of a family member regarding their health or finances, please feel confident to speak to us for no obligation advice. Call us on 01925 967191.