It is a sad fact that children do not always get on and elderly people who fear losing their grip on their affairs are often wiser to entrust them to a professional. In one case which proved the point, two sisters who detested each other were stripped of powers of attorney in respect of their 97-year-old mother.
The sisters communicated only by ‘usually rancorous’ emails and were barely able to be in the same room together. However, their mother, who suffered from dementia and lived in a care home, had entrusted them with the task of managing her assets – worth about £700,000 – for her benefit.
However, after the case was investigated by the Public Guardian – the official who supervises powers of attorney – the Court of Protection ruled that the siblings’ ‘obvious hostility’ made them unsuitable for such a role. It was ‘not merely desirable, but essential’ that a professional lawyer be put in their place so that strategic decisions could be made in the pensioner’s best interests.