In a warning to the elderly that even close family members cannot always be trusted, a judge has come to the aid of an 86-year-old dementia sufferer whose nephews breached their legal duties and 'made a hash' of managing her financial affairs.
The pensioner had signed an enduring power of attorney, giving her nephews full power to deal with her finances on her behalf. However, her local authority had raised concerns after she fell almost £50,000 behind on her care home fees and an inquiry was launched under the auspices of the Public Guardian.
In stripping the nephews of their power of attorney, the Court of Protection found that they had contravened their authority and acted in a way which was not in their aunt's best interests. They had engaged in transactions which were not for her benefit and had mingled her funds with their own and those of other family members.
After finding that the nephews had consistently given priority to their own interests over those of their frail relative, the Court directed that the local authority – which was already funding the lion's share of the pensioner's care home fees – should take over management of what was left of her assets.