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Being Taken Advantage of

ConcernedNiece

Registered User
Jul 18, 2015
1
I have recently moved to be close to elderly relatives including my Auntie who is a widow with no children. I have found out that her half-niece-in-law (whom I don't know) and her solicitor have joint and several power of attorney. My Auntie has gone into a care home, although she is only physically incapicated not mentally (although at 88 not as alert as she used to be) and the niece-in-law has emptied my Auntie's house without her knowledge, sold the furniture for rock bottom prices, thrown personal possessions into a skip (including photos) and intends to rent the house out to contribute to care home fees. Her and her husband are the beneficiaries of the house so they want to make sure there is as much money as possible for them to inherit. I suspect that they have kept the money from the sale of possessions and are helping themselves to their inheritance before my Auntie has died and I want to know what I can do about it? I feel that she is being neglected as when I went to the care home, there was no money in her account, her nails needed doing, she didn't have sufficient clothes, her hearing aid wasn't working and her reading glasses had gone missing. Since I have kicked up a fuss, some money has been put into her account but I just feel they don't care.
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
I could be completely wrong about this, but can you not report those holding the POA for deprivation of assets. I am sure there is something on this web site about this and I know that there are people on here with more knowledge of procedure regarding POA's. They will be along soon!
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,507
Near Southampton
I think you are able to contact the OPG, with whom the LPA is registered and make a complaint about financial abuse. They can then investigate and take any necessary action.
However, do be sure of the facts before you do so.
It is possible that the house has had to be sold to pay for the care home fees following instructions from the LA.
Maybe a letter to the solicitor sharing the LPA explaining your concerns regarding the wellbeing of your aunt might help you.
I do think you need more than suspicions before you rush into anything though.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,046
Yorkshire
I agree with Saffie, be careful that you have evidence not just suspicions before making such a strong accusation.
It's good that you care and are visiting - but your aunt did appoint her Attorneys and you may not be aware of the full situation as you say you don't know the family member concerned.
You say you have made a fuss - to the home or attorneys? So follow that up by contacting the solicitor attorney and carefully wording what you are concerned may be happening, s/he will have to take notice.
If you are concerned about possessions - maybe you could 'recycle' some items from the skip. And 2nd hand furniture doesn't have much value I'm afraid - even antiques are not as valuable as may be thought.
Keep visiting and chat to your aunt to gauge how she feels - but don't cross question her to lose confidence in her attorneys without being more certain yourself of what is happening, that wouldn't be fair on her.
Not trying to put you off - if there is something wrong the solicitor and OPG need to know - just tread carefully.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
OK - so from what you say they have cleared the house preparatory to renting it out? Perhaps not very sensitively from what you say, but TBH, clearing a house is a pretty difficult thing to do and generally, unless it's full of antiques, you end up paying to clear it, rather than getting actual money for the contents.

Since the house has not be sold but is being rented I'm making a guess that there is some kind of deferred payment agreement in place. Again, I'm guessing, but rarely is the income from a rental plus the person's pensions sufficient to pay for a care home, so a debt will be accruing against the house. However, property prices being what they are, this seems a fiscally prudent approach to take.

Do please bear in mind that care home costs can be up to £1000 per week (or even higher).

Some of the other things you raise (lost glasses, insufficient clothes) may be, I'm afraid, part and parcel of living in a care home. Clothes get lost in the wash, glasses go walk-about.

Having adequate funds in the care home account to pay for "extras" might be something to be concerned about, but it sounds like this issue has been resolved. The truth is, you cannot force a person to "care" in any sense of the word. Perhaps they are doing the bare minimum, but on the other hand, perhaps they simply are focused on dealing with all the hassle that goes along with managing another person's finances.

I think you should be very cautious about making any accusations. From reading your post I suspect you haven't enough actual information to make any judgements about whether there is anything fishy going on. You could approach the LPAs and ask, but not only do they not have to give you any information, legally, they may not be able to. As LPAs they have a duty to keep the donors affairs private.

Does your aunt have a social worker? If she does, it might be appropriate to make yourself known to him/her so that at least the LA knows that there is another family member in the mix.

In the final analysis: your aunt granted this LPA and as you say she isn't mentally incapacitated there is no reason to suppose that the LPA isn't a valid reflection of her wishes, but if you have concerns you can contact the OPG. https://www.gov.uk/report-concern-about-attorney-deputy
 

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