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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10983
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My step dad has his son in law as power of attorney due

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Hi. My step dad has his son in law as power of attorney due to dementia. This is causing many issues for my mum, who lives with my step dad - the most recent is she has found out that the POA has transferred the copy of their jointly owned ( no mortgage) property from my step fathers solicitor to his own solicitors- no consent asked or gained from my mum. Is this legally correct ? She is worried they (my step sister and her husband) may be syphoning off money and fears she could loose her home.
1. It is a fundamental principle of law that the donee (son in law) cannot profit from his position as holder of a Power of ATtorney. Accordingly, if the son in law profits in any way from his position as holder of the power of attorney, then that benefit must be disgorged and handed back. Secondly, a copy of a jointly owned property is not determinative of its ownership. There are innumerable copies of title deeds in existence, but the only record that matters is the record in the Land Registry. Until this changes, there is nothing to worry about. Thirdly, any solicitor acting in relation to a power of attorney will realise that the son in law cannot benefit and if they help the son in law, as for example, by conveying property of your step dad to him, they would also be potentially convicted of fraud. So no solicitor is going to help the perpetration of any fraud as there are substantial criminal convictions available for anyone involved. So for the moment, I would not worry, as the actions of the son in law are subject to review by the Court of Protection. So if he does anything untoward, it will be punished.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you that's really helpful. As the son in law has all monetary control of step dad's finances, he is paying my mum money for weekly shopping ( half) My mum and step dad always went halves on any bills and household expenditure. However she now has no idea what the monthly hearing bills, council tax etc are and son in law just asks her for what he says is her half. She also needs work done on their home - a wall needs recounting , garage needs clearing due to woodworm and POA refusing to pay her the half from my step dad - she's only on a pension and can't afford the whole amount. He is also asking for her financial details - pension income/ savings for benefits he thinks step dad may be entitled to - she isn't happy for him to have this information - dies she have to give it to him ?
2. The son in law has quite a niggardly attitude towards expenditure. However, the son in law does have a duty as controller of your step Dad's money to account for where the money went. So, you Mum should do some financial reckoning and work out how much everything costs. She certainly should get quotes for issues such as getting the wall done, clearing the garage and so forth. Then furnish them to him. Secondly, the son in law has no right to your mother's personal financial details. This is just not his business unless your mother is given money for your stepDad.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again - and finally ...
The deeds aren't registered at land registry as the house was built in --1970 and has never been sold , they are the only people to have lived there. Is that still the same advice ? Can she ask his solicitor for a copy for her own records maybe ?
And she has furnished him with quotes for the work needed but he flatly refuses to pay her the other half.
3. Dear Sal, The advice is still the same even if the land is unregistered land. She will have to ask her own solicitor for a copy of her records. The solicitor for her son in law should not be asked as there is a potential conflict of interest. Finally, be aware that your Mum cannot control how the son in law spends the stepdad's money. That is purely at the discretion of the person holding the power of attorney, I regret to say. So if the son in law declines to pay money, then she either has the option of suing him for the half or doing the works herself.
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