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Hello, thanks for your question. Can you expand and set out the background a little more please?
the relative (mother),has dementia and is unable to understand ,no POA exists
I see. Then no, if the person who owns the bank account (and hence the money in it) has lost capacity due to dementia or other medical condition, then nobody can take their money even if for the best of intentions. What should happen is that an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint somebody as their deputy, so as to make decisions relating to finances on their behalf. Decisions relating to care can be made too if the Court gives permission.
As you say, usually people have lasting powers of attorney in place, which continue after capacity is lost, but not everybody takes the precaution of putting something like this in place and hence an application to the Court is required.
You can read more about this type of thing here: https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy/overview
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thankyou, if this is illegal, can they be punished in law
It depends ...
If this was done dishonestly, then possibly, although very much less likely to be honest if the person did it with the bets intentions and without any "bad mindset". To be convicted of most criminal offences, you need to do the physical thing itself and have a guilty mind. An obvious example is murder, when you have to kill, and have an intention to kill or cause serious harm. So without one or the other, you cannot be liable to murder. Fraud is similar, but difficult to define because there are so many examples of how it works.
So in short - it would likely depend on why the person did it. If genuinely to help out and didn't take money otherwise, then it's unlikely they would be prosecuted. But the position should be put right as soon as possible.
thankyou for your help, most informative. i had my doubts about this as i care for this lady myself at my expense, food travel etc.
her daughter is the one responsible for employing the part time carers, so as to give me a break for a few hours. i am here 24/7 for 14daYS AT A TIME
That sounds like a large committment from you.
I'm pleased you found this informative. If there is anything more you would like me to clarify for you, please do ask. Otherwise, please do remember to rate the answer as highly as you can for me please.