LPA reporting possible abuse as an attorney

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Hi.
My mum has vascular dementia and has lived with my brother and his girlfriend for the last couple of years. LPAs are in place for both finances and health, and my brother and I are attorneys, jointly and severally. I would say that mums mental capacity is ok for making decisions about a cup of tea, or where she'd like to go, but I'm not sure about her ability to make a decision regarding finances. She is very compliant and has always been her nature to help if possible, so I think if she were asked to lend some money or pay for something, she'd say yes. However, I'm not in a position to say if this is so, and in the time she has been at my brothers, I have not been included in any decision making or informed of any decisions made.

Recently, as attorney, I managed to get access to mums accounts and I'm shocked at the amount of money that has been spent. My understanding as an attorney, is that the only money going out of mums account is either as a (reasonable) gift, (reasonable) expenses, and for payment of bills, etc, in this case payment towards her upkeep at my brothers home. I think I read somewhere that money from mums account should 'directly benefit the donor'. I take this to mean that if spending is for mum only, that's ok but if someone else benefits then they shouldn't use the money. Am I correct in my assumption?

Unfortunately my relationship with my brother has broken down and I'm unable to discuss this with him as he takes offence at everything I say, no matter what I say, but I think some of the transactions are questionable, i.e. new sofa (full payment), girlfriends driving lessons and test (full payment). Should I give him the opportunity to explain, which is likely to end in an abusive reply, or go directly to the OPG?

Thanks
 

maisiecat

Registered User
Oct 12, 2023
376
0
Hi @GennyWren , this is a very difficult problem for you but I think you will need to approach your brother first otherwise will it not be difficult to see your mother?
I had to do this many years ago when I also had a joint and several enduring power of attorney as they were then. My mother was in a care home and my father showed me the details of the villa he was buying in Spain from the proceeds of the house sale(joint asset). He wouldn't listen to reason so I reported hime to the Court of Protection. Oddly they allowed hime to stay as her attorney but he had to present detailed accounts. I saw a solicitor and disclaimed being an attorney as I wanted no involvment with him.
You are quite right about what money is allowed to be spent and why and if your mother needed a care home the LA on their trawl through would pick up on this.
I hope you find a way through as its a distressing process. My father and I never spoke again.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
7,349
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @GennyWren, Can you email your bother with your concerns and ask him to explain in writing how the purchases benefitted your mother. I guess he could argue that the sofa was for her comfort and the driving lessons so the girlfriend could take your mum places. If he doesn't reply or is rude that's when I'd refer the matter to the OPG.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
30,497
0
Bury
Ask him to explain why the expenses were in your mum's best interests.
Mum, with capacity, may have consented to the expenses in which case it would have been sensible for brother to tell you at the time.
If you are not satisfied with his explanation tell him you are going to refer everything to the OPG for a decision.
With joint and several responsibility you can be held responsible for his actions especially as you now know about them.
 

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Hi @GennyWren , this is a very difficult problem for you but I think you will need to approach your brother first otherwise will it not be difficult to see your mother?
I had to do this many years ago when I also had a joint and several enduring power of attorney as they were then. My mother was in a care home and my father showed me the details of the villa he was buying in Spain from the proceeds of the house sale(joint asset). He wouldn't listen to reason so I reported hime to the Court of Protection. Oddly they allowed hime to stay as her attorney but he had to present detailed accounts. I saw a solicitor and disclaimed being an attorney as I wanted no involvment with him.
You are quite right about what money is allowed to be spent and why and if your mother needed a care home the LA on their trawl through would pick up on this.
I hope you find a way through as its a distressing process. My father and I never spoke again.
Thanks @maisiecat for your input on how the money should be spent. I was aware that the LA would trawl through mums accounts, but wasn't sure how they would view things. I think there may be a case for 'deprivation of assets' as well.
There's always an issue seeing mum as I never know what mood my brother is in. I'm sorry to hear about you and your father, and it's likely that once mum goes, my brother and I will never speak again.
I find it quite sad that we can't resolve things amicably and the likelyhood of have to resort to reporting him is a decision I won't take lightly.
 

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Hi @GennyWren, Can you email your bother with your concerns and ask him to explain in writing how the purchases benefitted your mother. I guess he could argue that the sofa was for her comfort and the driving lessons so the girlfriend could take your mum places. If he doesn't reply or is rude that's when I'd refer the matter to the OPG.
Hi @Sarasa. I was thinking of writing to him to ask about the spend, and as an attorney he should be keeping records so it shouldn't be a problem. However, on another matter, his response was extremely aggresive which is why I'm reluctant to ask. I agree that you could argue the sofa is for her comfort, but then it's in the living room where anybody could use it and I think £3000 is rather excessive. The driving lessons for the girlfriend to take mum places I also accept, but to pay the full amount I feel is unacceptable, especially as I know mum would want to help her grandchildren with the cost of driving lessons .. which isn't going to happen. At the end of the day, I think I'll probably have to go to the OPG.
 

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Ask him to explain why the expenses were in your mum's best interests.
Mum, with capacity, may have consented to the expenses in which case it would have been sensible for brother to tell you at the time.
If you are not satisfied with his explanation tell him you are going to refer everything to the OPG for a decision.
With joint and several responsibility you can be held responsible for his actions especially as you now know about them.
Hi @nitram. It was my intention to ask him to explain the spend on mums account. As I said, mums ability to make decisions, particularly where money is concerned, is something I couldn't say that she could do.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
6,738
0
Salford
Had she not been living with them what would her expenses have been?
Since my wife passed away I've barely saved a penny in living costs.
I still get a 25 per cent discount on my council tax, but I got that before as she was a mandatory disregard for CT purposes, cooking and heating costs are down a bit but not much, takes as much electricity to put the oven on and cook for one as it does for two.
Food costs don't halve, bigger pack, better value.
I don't think it's unreasonable to have her pay her way I'd want to if it was me.
Since my wife passed away the bills for living here alone have barely changed but if your mums out goings have gone up...if not she's just paying her way.
I had my mum come and live with me and my wife some years back and never took a penny off her, I paid for everything, she ended up as my wife's unofficial carer as my wife git early onset AZ.
K
 

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Had she not been living with them what would her expenses have been?
Since my wife passed away I've barely saved a penny in living costs.
I still get a 25 per cent discount on my council tax, but I got that before as she was a mandatory disregard for CT purposes, cooking and heating costs are down a bit but not much, takes as much electricity to put the oven on and cook for one as it does for two.
Food costs don't halve, bigger pack, better value.
I don't think it's unreasonable to have her pay her way I'd want to if it was me.
Since my wife passed away the bills for living here alone have barely changed but if your mums out goings have gone up...if not she's just paying her way.
I had my mum come and live with me and my wife some years back and never took a penny off her, I paid for everything, she ended up as my wife's unofficial carer as my wife git early onset AZ.
K
Thank you @Kevinl. I completely agree that it's not unreasonable for mum to pay her way, but the weekly payment is more than she would have paid in a month if she was in her own home, which to me is excessive and could be seen as a deprivation of assets. My main issue is with some large expenditure from her account and the fact that I haven't been involved or kept informed.
 

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
593
0
@GennyWren , I do understand your position. If your brother had been honest with you, as he should have been as a fellow attorney acting jointly and severally, it would never have come to this. If you’d been able to discuss financial decisions made in your mum‘s best interests, even if they might have been ones she wanted to make as a family, you would have been able to work through them.
But because he seems to be looking at the world through his own financial self-interest, it appears he can’t do any of this. It’s very sad and you have my utmost sympathy.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
6,738
0
Salford
Jointly you're both responsible for whatever happens as if you're one entity, but when you're jointly and severally legally liable then you're recognised as different people and what the other party/ies do means they can be held accountable alone.
K
 

maisiecat

Registered User
Oct 12, 2023
376
0
Thanks @maisiecat for your input on how the money should be spent. I was aware that the LA would trawl through mums accounts, but wasn't sure how they would view things. I think there may be a case for 'deprivation of assets' as well.
There's always an issue seeing mum as I never know what mood my brother is in. I'm sorry to hear about you and your father, and it's likely that once mum goes, my brother and I will never speak again.
I find it quite sad that we can't resolve things amicably and the likelyhood of have to resort to reporting him is a decision I won't take lightly.
Hi @GennyWren , this all happened a long time ago to me when it was an enduring POA but what @nitram says is exactly right. If the POA is run jointly and severally if you become aware of any malpractice and don't report it you can equally be found culpable. Its why I used a solicitor to extract myself even though I couldn't really afford it.
Good luck
 

Alberta23

Registered User
Oct 15, 2023
89
0
Goodness that is awful gor you to have to cope with
As LPA you brother has a legal obligation to carry out duties legally and appropriately. He is to manage any finances in the best interest of a relative. He has no right to use money for himself. Especially not his girlfriend.
Any LPA can be challenged for malpractice and you need to get back to the Office of Guardianship OPG for advice.
Dont be bullied by him, your mum needs you to fight her corner.
The OPG wont accuse you of malpractice when you are trying to shout out malpractice 'that can be evidenced against your brother'.
Bullies like to scare you into running away. It is scary. But get people behind you to back you up.

Other relatives, solicitors, social workers, GP, MP, friends, CAB, AgeUk, advocacy services, OPG. The more people on your side the better. Even the bank, as they have to protect people against fraud.

May be worth having a joint account that requires your signature, as well as your brothers, before any money can be drawn out. As bank for help with this.

Good luck. Your mum needs you. X
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
1,778
0
I would most definitely give him the opportunity to explain.

It could be that your mum had an ‘accident’ on the sofa that no amount of cleaning sorted out.

Remember if your brother gets so cross that he decides that she needs residential care, that will cost 6k a month, and would your mum be less happy?? Is she happy and well looked after where she is? This would affect how I reacted to things.

I would be making plain now that it would be unacceptable for a car to be purchased with mum’s money for ‘mum’.
 

GennyWren

Registered User
Nov 2, 2023
33
0
Thanks to everyone for your replies and advise. I'm definitely going to have to bite the bullet and ask him to explain, it's only right and fair that I give him the opportunity.

I know it's not easy to look after a PWD in your own home and how most of you that do, manage it, is beyond me, and I know that he does his best for mum, but we can make mistakes, and his reluctance to keep me updated sets off my alarm bells. I just hope I'm wrong
 

Alberta23

Registered User
Oct 15, 2023
89
0
Yes, usually when you have a gut feeling there is a good reason. Its important to check them out and not get manipulated.
Its important to stay rational but vigilant.
Follow your instincts. Give praise and support where that is right and proper to do, but don't be fooled if things are being hidden.
Vulnerable people rely on us asking questions.
If your brother has made a mistake, thats normal, we all do that.
But large sums of money going missing isnt usually a mistake.
Especially when they are connected to someone who isnt connected to your mum.
Go with your instincts. Thinking of you and your mum .
 

Lcasa

New member
Feb 23, 2021
4
0
Please contact the OPG and raise your concerns! My husbands sister spent £187,000 of her mothers savings before we got it stopped, it took 6 months for them to investigate- they will want bank statements and will want to know what each purchase is for.
 

MarieD

Registered User
Dec 26, 2021
110
0
Hi I’m sorry your having issues with your brother I’ve been through similar and know how frustrating this can be.
If you do decide to contact your brother asking for an explanation I would do it via email so you have it all in writing ( I didn’t do this I only spoke to him on the phone where he admitted he shouldn’t of taken the money and would pay it back, but he never did ) I then reported my brother to the OPG he then changed his story and made the narrative fit to benefit my mother ( it was all lies) the OPG took him at his word and no further action was taken.
By reporting him this did stop him taking out any further money though.
Good luck
 

Alberta23

Registered User
Oct 15, 2023
89
0
Glad your brother stopped taking the money MarieD. That is good to know. So frustrating that the OPG believed his lies though. This happens more than it should. They should have been far more questioning. Otherwise they become part of the problem when honest relatives are trying to keep elderly people safe.
Its important to keep challenging organisations if they fail to listen the first time.