Assuming responsibility for the financial affairs of elderly and vulnerable relatives is an onerous, and sometimes legally hazardous, task which might best be left to a qualified lawyer. In one case, a son who used his frail mother’s money for his own purposes ended up being jailed for fraud.
The mother, who was aged 87 and was believed to be suffering from dementia, was looked after in a care home. It was her son’s duty, under a lasting power of attorney, to manage her affairs for her benefit. However, he dispersed most of the £182,500 yielded by the sale of her home and £50,000 of her care home fees were left unpaid.
He was convicted of fraud and was jailed for two years. In dismissing his challenge to that sentence, the Court of Appeal ruled, “We consider that this sentence properly reflects not merely punishment and rehabilitation but also serves as a deterrent to others who may, in a similar position, consider a relative lacking capacity could be defrauded of money that should be dedicated to their care.”