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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8545
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I need some advice about my deceased’s Mum’s money. It would

Customer Question

I need some advice about my deceased’s Mum’s money. It would appear that one of my brother’s was taken money out of ATM machines after she had a stroke. From 2005 - this totalled nearly £138,000. He does not deny this (but only because I got hold of her bank statements) - but says it all went to her. I know all her costs were covered - and know that she was not getting all of this money - as she was staying with me on dates he took money out of her account. He is now blocking my emails - and will only respond to a solicitors letter. I do not have a great deal of money - and after having a stoke in April - am just getting back on track with work. Can you advise?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Have you reported this to the police?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have. The West Yorkshire Police originally set up a crime report. But my brother claimed that he had Power of Attorney. Which allowed him to take money out of Mum's account as he wanted. On that basis - they could not take it any further. Most of the money was taken from an ATM in Leeds (next to his office). He is claiming all the money was spent on her. Well, for periods she was staying with me - so that seems unfounded. I have bank going back to 2005. And I cannot see how a disabled woman was spending up to £600 a week when all her costs were covered. And why would he take it out of an ATM? There are some large bank transfers from her account into his. And the only money going into her account was from the DSS and DWP. I did ask if he could send me just one breakdown of one one month - when she was staying with me. And I was feeding her and getting all her support sorted out. He has ignored that.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

If your brother did have power of attorney, would have allowed him to take money out of the account as he wanted but would not allow him to use the money for any purpose other than his mother and any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses which wouldn’t amount to the amount of money taken.

If this started in 2005 and carried on until now, that is 11 years, which is 132 months. Hence, it would be just over £1000 per month averaged out over the period.

Depending on the amounts taken and the frequency of the amounts, it could equate to living expenses or not depending on your mother’s lifestyle and what benefit she gets.

I think you need to go back to the police with this because clearly, they don’t understand how a power of attorney works. You should also refer the matter to the Court of Protection

https://www.gov.uk/report-concern-about-attorney-deputy

who have the power to prosecute him and ask him to account for all the money. He would need to show what it was spent on for your mother over that period.

The good thing about the Court of Protection of course is that it is free of charge. He should be accounting to them annually in any event. They will look closely into this.

Can I clarify anything further for you?

Please rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks. At the moment, I have just asked for one month's accounts. That was a month when she was was with me. So he could not have been spending money on her. And not leaving money with her in an envelope as he claims. Is that enough to go on?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
If I send them information - that's enough?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry, and for the period he did not have Power of Attorney - who h was 2004-2008, where does that stand?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have spoken to them. They are limited to what they can do. But they have been helpful. I will fill in a form and send it to them. But a legal letter - just one - to him - might move things a bit. Is that possible?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

For the period when he doesn’t have Power of Attorney, I would get the bank statements and go back to the police.

A letter from a solicitor threatening a court application if he does not give a complete account of details may make him more receptive and doesn’t, then clearly he is hiding something.

In cases like this there is no need not to be completely open and transparent.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK. I am going through the organisation you have suggested. Are you able to draft a letter? And how much would it cost? I think he will move if he gets one letter. I can do the rest after that. I assume if he loses on this - I can claim back expenses?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

We can’t do it on letterhead for you and he isn’t going to take much notice of a letter which comes from you it seems. It would be better coming from any local solicitor who will know exactly what to say.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am not sure I was clear about my position. Can I send a final message?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

You can send a final message to your brother telling him that if he doesn’t come up with the statements and explanation of where this money has gone, you will report it to the police.

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