When someone is unable to manage their financial affairs an Enduring Power of Attorney is a useful tool to enable someone else to take over this responsibility. This does not give them the freedom to do as they wish as the following case demonstrates and highlights the reasons why it may be best to use the services of an independent professional, as opposed to someone emotionally close.
In this case, the youngest son had taken on the EPA on behalf of his 95 year old father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and was unable to make decisions for himself and was deemed to be mentally incapacitated.
The EPA is intended to allow the holder to manage another’s affairs solely for their benefit and they should be aware of the responsibility that this entails. In this case, the son did not know this and used his father’s money for his own benefit, paying for his own household expenses and speeding fines along with a fishing trip along with other unexplained withdrawals from ATMs, a total of £88,366 over a six-year period.
He made an application to the Court of Protection after his brother had expressed his concern for retrospective authorisation of the expenditure. He cited the fact that he had given a lot of care to his father when he was at home, and meant he was able to stay at home longer, and, had he paid for care would have cost more than the money he had taken.
The Court agreed that the son should be paid for the care he provided and accepted that had his father been able to he would have given permission for most of the expenditure. However, he did have a responsibility to manage his father’s financial affairs and keep strict records of any expenditure, which he had failed to do so. The Court did grant the approval retrospectively to some of the expenditure totaling £72,820, the outstanding balance would be levied as a debt and repaid from any inheritance.