Elder Abuse Caused by Lack of Estate Planning

Elder Abuse Caused by Lack of Estate Planning

On 26/02/2014 the UK Court of Protection decided the case of JS –v-  KB & MP .

The Court itself said: “This cautionary tale illustrates vividly the dangers of informal family arrangements for an elderly relative who lacks mental capacity, made without proper regard for:

      i.         the financial and emotional vulnerability of the person who lacks capacity; and

ii.         the requirements for formal, and legal, authorisation for the family’s actions, specifically in relation to property and financial affairs.”

The case concerned a 90 year-old female suffering from a progressive dementia. She had been cared for by her daughter for over three years.  The Court found that “The actual care arrangement is in many ways excellent … [the patient] is receiving devoted care and is reported to be happy. For this, [the daughter] deserve genuine credit.”

However, the Court found that the daughter had used informal and improper means by which the patient’s finances were utilised by the daughter to fund the care arrangements, and this led to the sale of the home in which she had lived for over fifty years effectively ‘over her head’, and the proceeds of sale being placed out of her immediate reach, rendering her financially highly exposed; government benefits and retirement pension payable to the patient had been subsequently been diverted into an account in the daughter’s name. All of this was done without legal authority.