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Court of Protection – Part 9


The next case I want to look at is the case of Re OB: Public Guardian v AW & DH [2014] EWCOP B28.


This case concerns a lady OB, she was a retired nurse and had been widowed in 1987.  She had 2 daughters AW and DH.  She sold her house for £390,000 (£376,200 net).


She went to see a solicitor with whom she created a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs in 2008 and she appointed both of her daughters as her joint and several attorneys.


She then became increasingly frail and began to lose her memory.  However memory loss can often be a gradual process and it was in this case, so in the beginning, OB would have had a better understanding of the situation than at the latter stages of this case.


OB decided to move in with her daughter AW and her daughter as attorney, arranged for some adaptations to her own home in order to accommodate her mother and to care for her.  This required AW to give up her own job as a nurse to care for her mother.  There was an estimate that a reasonable sum that could have been spent on the adaptations was £80,000, but the sum spent was £183,219.  DH complained about the expenditure and the OPG instigated an investigation, including sending a visitor to meet with OB and discuss the situation with her.


OB understood that she lived with her daughter and that her daughter cared for her.  She also indicated that she had agreed to some funding for her living expenses, but she thought that her major expenditure was managed and approved by her solicitor, so clearly did not believe that her daughter managed it for her.


There was a poor relationship between the 2 daughters, as AW believed that her sister should visit her mother and help with the care, by providing respite hours and holiday care for her mother, which she did not do, nor did she provide support with managing her financial affairs.


AW defended the case, indicating that in the earlier stages of her mother’s decline she had agreed to the spending and that her sister was only concerned about her own inheritance.  She did ask though that if the LPA was to be revoked that the Local Council were not appointed and that a Panel Deputy was appointed instead, as there was a poor relationship between her and the Council and she did not have faith that they would do a sufficiently good job.


So what did the Court do?  They revoked the appointment of AW in the LPA and asked that DH disclaim, so that a Panel Deputy could be appointed, who could then investigate into the matter and take appropriate steps to preserve the estate for OB.  They did also make the comment that they at no time questioned the care that was provided to OB by her daughter AW.  They did interesting comment on abuse by saying “One of the surest signs of undue influence is controlling another person’s environment and social interactions by isolating and excluding them from outside supervision and advisers”, which AW had done in relation to her mother, including arranging different solicitors to make a Will and different again to sell the house than the solicitor that drafted the LPA in the first place, so OB had no consistent advisor.