Potential coercion?

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Lulabelle, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Registered User

    Jul 2, 2012
    303
    South West France
    Hi all,
    I have a potentially explosive family situation going on and I would be so grateful for your opinions on how you think I should handle it.

    Sorry; it's a long one!

    In a (big!) nutshell, my brother and I have EPA for our mother who has been in a care home since late last year. The EPA was registered with the OPG nearly 3 years ago when it was becoming apparent that she was having trouble coping with her affairs. The relevant people, including our sister who is not a named attorney, were informed but now our sister is causing my brother and me no end of problems and I really don't know what to do for the best.

    It all started when we decided to sell Mum's house, which Mum knew would have to happen to help pay her fees (she is completely self-funding) and my sister wanted to buy it. Great, no problem, we have to ask permission of the COP but, as she will be paying market value (we have 3 separate valuations and have taken the middle one) I see no problem. We get the proceeds and my bro and I invest them in Mum's name with the help of her financial advisor of some 15 years' standing and, if we can get about 4% then she can afford to stay in the lovely home for 30 years or more (she is 88).
    Also, luckily for us, her actual capital will remain largely intact which means she should be able to leave us a nice inheritance.

    Sister then decides that, if SHE has the proceeds from the sale of the house and invests it, she can GUARANTEE 4% (she's got much more money than my bro and me) but only on condition that Mum gives her the house. Bro and I say, sorry, can't be done as she has an active EPA and bro and I cannot give any of Mum's money away. We offered to ask the COP (knowing they would almost certainly say no) but now she says that she is going to contest us having the EPA and that she is going to prove that Mum has capacity to make this decision.

    My sister telephones her regularly and has pretty much persuaded Mum that sister would make a much better job of investing her money than me and bro. Mum is resistant up to a point in that she is insisting that, if she gives away the proceeds, it has to be divided equally between all three of us but my sister tells Mum not to worry, that she will look after our 'share' for us.

    By the way, Mum needs the income from the sale proceeds to be able to afford the CH fees.

    I am desperately trying to save the relationship we have with my sister but I just don't know what to say to her to stop her from upsetting us all and for her to see that it is morally and legally wrong of her to coerce Mum into doing something she never thought to do when she was in full possession of her faculties.

    She is planning to our poor Mum in front of a solicitor in the hope that she can persuade the powers that be that Mum has capacity and that this is what she wants.

    Oh I won't go on but your thoughts are very gratefully received.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I am probably being very dim here, but if the house is not sold because it is given to your sister, surely there are no proceeds of sale therefore no capital to invest for mum at all?

    I would hope that any reputable solicitor would be extremely cautious about accepting that your mum now has suddenly regained capacity several years after it was agreed by all relevant people including your sister that it was right to register the EPOA. Have you telephoned the OPG for advice? Others on TP have found them very helpful.

    I think it is very commendable that you are trying not to wreck the family relationship but if your sister is behaving inappropriately she's the one doing the damage. In the end you have both legally and morally to put your mother's best interests first.
     
  3. Caroleca

    Caroleca Registered User

    Jan 11, 2014
    332
    Ontario canada
    I'm sorry, but I would shut her down. I would certainly not worriy about upsetting the apple cart. Your sister certainly is not worried about anyone except herself. What a selfish person she is! Problem is she will continue to be this way UNTIL someone confronts her. It will have to be you or your other siblings. Imo

    Carole
     
  4. ellejay

    ellejay Registered User

    Jan 28, 2011
    4,013
    Essex
    Surely if the EPA is registered (and has been for some time) it would be unlikely that your mum would be found to have capacity now.

    As much as you want to keep a relationship with your sister, your mums welfare comes first. You & your bro are making your mums life as settled as it can be . Your sisters plan has your sisters interests first.

    I would definitely contact OPG for advise, if only to give yourselves more confidence that you are doing the right thing.

    Families, don't ya just love 'em?

    Lin x
     
  5. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Registered User

    Jul 2, 2012
    303
    South West France
    Thanks for taking the time to read the saga and for your comments.

    I spoke to the OPG who directed me to the COP where I fell upon someone who didn't seem to have a clue and couldn't advise me at all.

    Pickles, you're not being dim, I should have explained that my sister is offering to pay Mum 4% 'interest' and to safeguard the third share that my brother and I will eventually be entitled to.

    I think she should just wait until Mum dies before she tries to get the money. Furthermore, in my opinion, Mum's money is hers until she dies and doesn't become our inheritance until that day.

    Carole, you're right, I know you are but I know my sister, she will not take no for an answer and if she persuades a doctor that Mum knows what she's doing and gets her to sign the house over to her what then?

    It's a nightmare and I just don't know what to do.
     
  6. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,856
    England
    #6 Katrine, Jun 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
    From your POV as attorneys, you have decided that you need to sell your mum's house to raise additional capital to pay for her CH fees over time. You say she has other savings, so you could use those instead, at least for a while. Your business plan should explore that option.

    The house itself is a financial asset. It might be expected to increase in value at greater than 4% p.a. depending on where it is, e.g. London. Or it might not. If you keep the house you will need to rent it out and have all the hassle of being landlords. But it is an option. Your sister might wish to be the tenant, paying market rent.

    Some houses take a long time to sell. If you are worried that her liquid assets will run out in less than 2 years then it makes sense to put the house on the market in good time.

    If it was me, and I had decided that selling the house was the way to go, I would give sister a deadline for her 'first refusal' on purchase. If she has not progressed it seriously within one month then go ahead and put the house on the open market.

    I can't see how she can get your mum to give her the property since your mum's power to do this has been removed by the registration of the EPA. Your mum can apply to have this revoked, which is presumably what your sister is trying to get her to do. I would speed up the house sale if I were you. Sister should buy it, or she will see someone else buying it, or moving in as your tenant.

    In the meantime you could write to the COP saying you are concerned that your sister is going to try to get the EPA revoked in order to coerce your mum into giving her the house. This is not in you mum's best interests since she is already in residential care and needs all her money to be protected for her own use in her lifetime.

    I would also take legal advice. You may find that a solicitor can assist you to block any transfer of title in the property without the attorneys approval. Maybe the Land Registry could also advise on this?
     
  7. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    566
    Hi Lulabelle, as if it isn't enough having to cope with your Mum's needs then something like this starts up and it always seems to be from the least involved sibling :mad:

    So basically your sister wants the house for free and will 'guarantee' an income to your Mum of the equivalent of the value of the house invested at 4% per annum - so your sister gets the house for just a monthly outlay? And then what, come inheritance time the house is just all hers? Well I can see the benefit to her.......

    Firstly I would contact the COP again - you'd be very unlucky to get another dimwit and if you do just ask to go further up the chain of command until you get someone with the knowledge to help you.

    TBH I can't see that, if what I've outlined above is what she's proposing that that would in any way be considered legal - you can't just pass an asset of hundreds of thousands of pounds to someone else for nothing and given your Mum's lack of capacity I can't see any solicitor agreeing to that without massive 'deprivation of assets' alarm bells ringing. What if sister suddenly pleads poverty and can no longer maintain the 'guaranteed income' as promised? Seriously, albeit in an over dramatic sort of way, what if sister did what she proposes and then has a terrible accident and is incapacitated - Mum's assets are no longer Mum's assets and the bills still have to be paid? We can't 'guarantee' anything in this life and I'm with you, Mum's money is hers until the day she passes away and no 'snake oil salesman' promises from a greedy sibling change that - Mum's money/assets/investments should all be in Mum's name.
     
  8. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Registered User

    Jul 2, 2012
    303
    South West France
    Thank you Essie and Katrine.
    I'm going to try to speak to my bro this weekend and I'll try to find someone more useful at the COP.
    My sister doesn't even want to live in the house which is in the South East and very saleable as she is overseas.
    She does, to be fair, intend to pay us our inheritance when Mum dies presuming, of course she hasn't lost it by then...
    I think I'm going to do as suggested and give her a deadline.
    Thanks again. It helps to know that you don't think I'm wrong about this.
     
  9. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    321
    I agree with you Lulabelle, and Essie. A parent's assets are their assets unless or until inheritence kicks in. Unfortunate as it is that a person's will can become irrelevant once things like paying for care are happening (and I know if my mum knew she was in this situation she'd be devastated), surely paying for their care is the best use of the money. Particularly if you're happy with where your mum is. I also agree that this idea of your sister's would almost certainly flag up 'deprivation of assets', which is taken very seriously by the tax people. I can't see how the CoP would allow this to happen, is it certainly doesn't seem to be in your mum's interests. Good luck with your sister.
     
  10. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    And that's only one reason why sister's plan is a bad idea...nobody knows what the future holds and you would all be in a very tricky situation if her investment strategy went astray. But the main point is, as you say yourself, that an inheritance does not exist until after someone dies, and your mum's money/assets should remain in her name so they can be used for her benefit alone.
     
  11. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    1,807
    This all sounds a very clever plan, and would no doubt sound very appealing if you were trying to make your mother's money last for 30 odd years and provide the biggest return possible....

    But just sometimes, it isn't about being clever. Or eking out the n'th degree of another percent return on the asset. Just sometimes it is about doing a simple straight forward on the line, all transparent arrangement whereby an asset realises its value well, and the background paperwork and clever deals stop there.

    Because whilst we all want the best deal, that's not necessarily from our parent's asset, that the financially-savvy one has spotted the opportunity in, and with the long term potential problems that this flags up....

    So sometimes we have to say NO. Whilst she is suggesting a good deal, it will drag out the financial and legal situation (don't forget those fees will chip away at the supposed extra £'s.) And the needing to enter into more stressful negotiations and possibly more hassle.

    I would counsel refusing her suggestion. She may well throw her toys out of the cot; are you really afraid of that? She is allowed to be confrontational and controlling, but you are not allowed to refuse her? Whatever your sister says she intends to do re inheritance, nothing short of a legal contract can guarantee that.

    She's looking after Number 1, not Mum. Stand up to her. Good luck!
     
  12. Fred Flintstone

    Fred Flintstone Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    133
    S. E. England
    Your mother can not simply give your sister her house. She lacks capacity to do so, and no sale can take place without the approval of you and/or your brother. It would be wise before any sale of the house to write to the OPG or the COP.

    Your mother will not reclaim legal capacity on the strength of any solicitor's request. It would require an exhaustive examination of her medical records over the last several years, and your and your brother's input would bear considerable weight.

    Your sister may be frightening you both, but is powerless as I see it. Make sure your mother's financial adviser is aware of the situation with your sister, and be open to taking further independent financial advice before any irrevocable decisions are made.
     
  13. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Registered User

    Jul 2, 2012
    303
    South West France
    Thank you so much for all your comments.

    I'm so grateful for your help and you have all helped me reach a decision (subject to my bro's agreement) on how to go forwards from here:-

    Deadline for exchange or it's on the open market. She has to put the money up in FULL. Bro and I will then invest it ALL in Mum's name using her FA (who is aware of situation and is on our side) and I will also take advice from another FA friend of mine.

    If sister wants to contest this with the COP or any other court and argue that she should have Mum's money (which she will), she can do her worst.

    Do I hear cheering?
    Xx
     
  14. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    1,807
    Yes, you can hear cheering from me!

    It is so difficult to keep everyone happy, along with doing the "right" thing.

    But being bullied at the same time makes the task doubly difficult, and turns a sad dementia situation into a thoroughly miserable one.

    Stay strong and ignore her threats - do what you know is right ;)
     
  15. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Well done for reaching a decision which makes perfect sense. Hope that the support from those of us on the sidelines has helped you, since you and your brother actually have to take the difficult decision and deal with any fallout.
     
  16. missmarple

    missmarple Registered User

    Jan 14, 2013
    206
    I'm no financial or legal expert but when I went to consult a Lawyer for the Elderly as to how to best manage Dad's assets with POA, she told me that in her experience people often come a cropper when they try and invest their parent's money into profit making schemes. And also that it was inappropriate, although maybe a bit of a grey area legally. What is this idea of hers that would give 4%. When you are struggling to get 1.5% via banks, I would have thought there could be a risk of losing the money with something that purports to return 4%.
    So well done for putting your foot down.
     
  17. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    11,477
    West Midlands
    #17 2jays, Jun 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
    Sorry only skim read.... But what I latched on to was

    "Sister will see us right" once mum has died....

    Over 10years ago, mum sold her mothers house

    It was decided between sister and mum... That they would split the money between them, and at the time of inheritance of mums money, I would get my proportion before mums money was split between sister and me

    I stood my ground... Wanting my 1/3 share, or all to go to mum.... Their choice...

    I got my 1/3 share

    sister expected mum to pay inheritance tax out of her share.... I insisted it was split 3 ways...

    Mums been in care now for 3 years.... In 4 years, her money runs out.... Mums looks fit to live for at least another 10 years.....

    Be very wary... All of mums money should go to her


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     

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