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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Because of problems with his father-in-law, my brother is

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Because of problems with his father-in-law, my brother is trying to persuade our mother to sign a lasting power of attorney form giving himself sole jurisdiction in the event of her becoming incompetent.
My mother is against the idea as she believes, as do I, that this should be a joint matter between both sons.
My brother refuses to accept any configuration other than sole power, and has declared an intent to continue to press my mother (92) to sign. As he lives nearer, he can use coercion, i.e. threaten to refuse to help her on a day-to-day basis unless she signs.
Is there anything I can do to protect her?
Note, whilst money is a factor here - her will divides everything 50/50 - my primary aim is to protect her; we have disagreed on such matters in the past.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

I am sorry to read of the above. May I confirm if your mother is feeling harassed by your brother? Who does your brother intend to use as a witness and / or certificate provider for the power. Do you happen to know?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He is pressuring her to sign, but so far she has resisted on the grounds that she wants me to approve it first - and I have not approved. But whilst she does retain her faculties at present, she is semi-reliant upon him. As for the second part, no idea.

Thank you. Finally has your mother asked you to assist her in respect of this issue or not specifically? Have you spoken to your brother about it?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Not specifically, but we did have a discussion where it was clear that she is not in favour of a monotheistic resolution. I spoke to my brother last night, and his responses were distinctly aggressive - it is fair to say that our relationship has probably now foundered. He accused me of having sown the seeds of doubt in her mind, whereas in fact what I did was to make sure that she understood clearly what the implications were, whilst indicating my own disquiet. I do not believe that such a level of control over the fate of another human being should ever be in one person's hands without checks and balances; that includes mine.

thank you. Based upon what you say, your brother appears to have misunderstanding potentially of the role of attorney has and your mother's rights in terms of appointing an attorney. As you know, the donor of a power of attorney ( your mother) hhas absolute autonomy to decide whom she wishes to appoint as attorney or attornies. it is not for one particular person to try to push themselves upon a donor. A donor can cancel a power of attorney at any point whilst they have capacity to do so.

An attorney has wide-ranging powers but with that has significant fiduciary responsibilities to the donor. They must at all times act in the donor's best interests and must not act against the wishes of the donor even if they disagree with the donor. If they act otherwise than in accordance with the above, the attorney can be personally liable to the donor and it can also be grounds for removal as an attorney.

On purely practical grounds, it is generally sensible to appoint more than one attorney. The reason for this is as you will have no doubt seen, the documents are not short and take some formality to set up and incur fees upon registration. If something were to happen to the appointed attorney, if there is no other attorney then the power fails but if there is a second attorney or more then they ofcourse can continue to act. in addition, where there are more than one attornies, each can act as a potential check on the other to reduce the risk of abuse of power. the office of the Public Guardian can also step in respect of any complaints with regards ***** ***** of power.

In terms of what you can potentially do to support your mother, clearly this is going to be a difficult balancing act if your mother relies upon your brother day-to-day however, in principle, if your brother is placing undue pressure upon your mother, you could make a report to adult safeguarding at social services at the local authority. however, as above, your mother may be very unhappy if you did this so you will need to consider treading carefully in this respect. as you will also be aware, in order to execute a valid power of attorney, your mother will need both a witness and a certificate provider other than your brother to certify that she has chosen her attorney freely and understands the nature of the power of attorney. It may therefore not be straightforward your brother to simply have your mother sign something she doesn't understand or doesn't want to sign as another party would need to certify the action. In addition, if your mother declined something and later regretted it, she can cancel the power and also you can register an objection with the office of the Public Guardian.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

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