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Protecting inheritance when Power of Attorney of the beneficiary

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  • Protecting inheritance when Power of Attorney of the beneficiary

    Hello, bit of a long winded one so please bear with me whilst I try unpack it all.

    My grandmother is in her 80s, widowed and has has two sons; my dad and uncle. My uncle lives abroad and, other than when he wants something, has very little to do with the family, including disowning his own daughters from an early age. She was diagnosed with a form of dementia a few years ago. At this point my dad became Power of Attorney.

    For around 10 years, including prior to her diagnosis, she had a companion that she'd spend most her time with, as her illness got worse she gave up driving and he would take her on days out etc. He became part of the family joining us for Christmas/Birthday celebrations etc. After a relatively short illness, approx. 2 months, he passed away in January this year. He left his entire estate, valued at approx. 400,000 to her. As there was a property involved (and it was still in his and his late wife's name) his estate went to probate. My father applied for probate and is executor of the will.

    Upon hearing of my grandmother's companion's passing my uncle flew home, on the same day, and decided he needed to become her primary carer.
    Whilst going through the process of probate my parents discovered a large sum of money, approx. 60,000 had been transferred from my grandmother's companion's bank accounts to my uncle, over the course of the previous 2 years. When my parents challenged my uncle on this he become very defensive and couldn't give any rational explanation as to why this happened. Since that point, and over the last 9 months my uncle has gradually encouraged my grandmother to have little to do with both my parents. New bank accounts have been created in her name which my father does not have access to the bank statements of. My parents were accompanying her to all her hospital appointments, picking up shopping for her etc. now they have very little contact with her. They still have access to her existing bank account statements and can see from January regular cash withdrawals have been made from her bank accounts, which she never did before his arrival. They also noticed payments to a locksmith coming out of her bank accounts and a different front door lock when they visited today. My uncle always makes sure he isn't around when they do visit and she was unable to reason about why the locks had been changed. When my partner and I recently visited her to wish her a happy birthday my uncle made repeated comments about how him being here has cost him over 60,000 in lost earnings that he would have earned if he was still abroad. We both pointed our that he didn't need to be here, he chose to do this, and again he become defensive - this felt to me like him beginning to plant the seed as to why he deserves a large chunk of this inheritance. Every thing feels very suspect, and we (me and my parents) are worried she's about to be taken for a proverbial ride.

    Probate was granted last week and now my father has a moral dilemma; does he hand everything across to my Grandmother with the assumption that my uncle is waiting to get access to some/all of it, or is there anything he can do to better protect his her interests? Some type of trust fund for her future care perhaps? Whilst she's very easily led by my uncle, she still have the majority of her faculties so, even with Power of Attorney, my father doesn't want to go directly against her wishes.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    As I understand it your father has LPA for finance and property.
    I suggest that he learns about his legal duty as an attorney
    You don't say whether your grandmother has capacity to make a decision to " give" money to your uncle or to open new bank accounts but regardless your father should be taking steps to protect your grandmother's money / assets.

    Are social services involved at all ,ie have they assessed your grandmother's care needs?
    ​​​​​​If there's a financial assesment further down the line the LA will want every drop of cash accounted for and if they see 60k etc disappearing they'll want to know where it went in case it was deliberare deprivation of assets. If they decide it was then from a financial assessment point of view they'll calculate any contributions based on an amount which includes that 60K, even if she doesn't have it, so your grandmother would have to contribute more to her care.
    This might also have implications when / if it came to her/ you choosing a residential home as with self funders homes often like to see that theres at least 3 years of funding available otherwise they won't accept the person. Plus arguably having more money allows a range of options for 24/7 care if/ when it's required.

    Regarding the 400,000 inheritance. Given the situation and the fact that your father is sole attorney, as long as your father is acting in your grandmother's best interests and he can prove that he is, I think he can place the money somewhere where only your father and grandmother have access to it ( but not via a debit or cash withdrawal card ) . No need at all to tell the Uncle BUT everything your father does MUST be in your grandmother's best interests and he CANNOT benefit in any way from any of her ( the donor's) assets.

    Comment


    • #3
      " New bank accounts have been created in her name which my father does not have access to the bank statements of. "

      If the LPA held by your father has been activated by your grandmother's permission, he should be able to access all your grandmother's bank accounts

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Getitdone View Post
        As I understand it your father has LPA for finance and property.
        I suggest that he learns about his legal duty as an attorney
        You don't say whether your grandmother has capacity to make a decision to " give" money to your uncle or to open new bank accounts but regardless your father should be taking steps to protect your grandmother's money / assets.

        Are social services involved at all ,ie have they assessed your grandmother's care needs?
        ​​​​​​If there's a financial assesment further down the line the LA will want every drop of cash accounted for and if they see 60k etc disappearing they'll want to know where it went in case it was deliberare deprivation of assets. If they decide it was then from a financial assessment point of view they'll calculate any contributions based on an amount which includes that 60K, even if she doesn't have it, so your grandmother would have to contribute more to her care.
        This might also have implications when / if it came to her/ you choosing a residential home as with self funders homes often like to see that theres at least 3 years of funding available otherwise they won't accept the person. Plus arguably having more money allows a range of options for 24/7 care if/ when it's required.

        Regarding the 400,000 inheritance. Given the situation and the fact that your father is sole attorney, as long as your father is acting in your grandmother's best interests and he can prove that he is, I think he can place the money somewhere where only your father and grandmother have access to it ( but not via a debit or cash withdrawal card ) . No need at all to tell the Uncle BUT everything your father does MUST be in your grandmother's best interests and he CANNOT benefit in any way from any of her ( the donor's) assets.
        Occupational health have been involved both to make sure her house was safe for her; some railings around some steps, electric bed with side rails etc, and they also carried out an assessment whilst she was last in hospital to ensure she was capable of returning home, but nothing more than that, as far as I know.

        I hope I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure my uncle's not considering the implication to my grand mother's future care needs whilst he has his eyes on her money.

        My father's ready to hand over everything and let my uncle "do his worst". He certainly has no personal interest in her assets. Whilst I understand his frustration, it's incredibly short sighted and certainly not in my grandmother's best interests but I need some supporting evidence before I make suggestions to him.

        Originally posted by des8 View Post
        " New bank accounts have been created in her name which my father does not have access to the bank statements of. "

        If the LPA held by your father has been activated by your grandmother's permission, he should be able to access all your grandmother's bank accounts
        Thanks, I'll suggest he gets in contact with the bank for access to those statements too.

        Comment

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