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Siblings and disagreements over power of attorney

(58 Posts)
topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:17:33

Aaargh - am one of 4 - eldest 2 siblings live in the US. Parents are elderly and need help with managing their affairs. 3rd sibling is an accountant and has very kindly and helpfully started (with my parents permission) to take over their financial and other admin, as they can't handle it.

He now needs a power of attorney to continue and it was always agreed it would be 3rd sibling and me (as we live in the UK). Now sibling 1 has been insisting he is involved - BUT he lives in the US. I know from practical experience of my dh having power of attorney for my in-laws that in practice you actually need to go into banks, produce proof of ID etc - this will all be impossible for the sibling who lives in the US. All it will do is ensure that sibling 2 - who IS actually doing the work, cannot act, as banks etc may not deal with him.

I don't care whether I am involved or not (well, am quite miffed that sibling 1 appears to have been telling my parents I should not do it - this is supposedly because I am not a trained accountant, which he is). I do care that sibling 3 can get on with paying all the bills etc that need paying - so far, he's been paying for things out of his own pocket, but that's not fair on him.

Anyone else have infuriating siblings??

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 18:24:30

Surely it's your parents decision isn't it?

RandomMess Sun 04-May-14 18:26:56

Geez, it must feel like the US sibling doesn't trust the 2 of you not to steal their money or something sad

cozietoesie Sun 04-May-14 18:31:11

Forgive me if this is indelicate but just how frail and elderly are your parents? If they're still compos mentis but just become a little 'fussed' about the pace of things, it's perhaps a less urgent matter.

On a related issuem have they made wills yet?

cozietoesie Sun 04-May-14 18:31:51


topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:36:35

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow - agreed, which is where we've left it. I've never asked either to do it or not to do it. Originally, it was me and sibling 3 - in fact, we were named on the original forms dating back to 2005. But now we need to use them, it turns out the forms should have been 'registered' before the law changed around 2007. Which they weren't, so forms need to be done again.

It is sibling 1 who has taken to ringing my parents from the US and demanding he be involved! (Despite having only bothered to actually visit them once in about the last decade. hmm )

And yes, I do feel like sibling 1 is suggesting that I would steal my parents' money! I am not that well off - but then nor is sibling 1. So I'll admit to some slightly uncharitable thoughts that sibling 1 might nick the money too... (But have been trying to banish those thoughts to the back of my mind, not share them with my parents! shock )

Sibling 3 is loaded, and honest as the day is long, so no worries there.

It infuriates me, because as our parents have got older and in worse health, it is me and sibling 3 who have given up time and money to look after our parents, cook for them, deal with social services etc.

Sibling 1 has done bugger all and just says 'they're fine, they don't need any help' from the other side of the ocean, having not seen them in a year.

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:42:31

cosietoesie - they're doing well for people in their 80s/90s...

My df has always dealt with all financial matters but it's become clear recently he can't cope with that any more. Has not been paying essential bills, taxes, etc. Sibling 3 and I have been contacted by social services who are very concerned they need more help, but dparents refuse it. I managed to get dm to agree to a cleaner (they live in a 5-bed house) but even that was a battle. Between them have had a mix of heart problems/strokes. Also severe mobility problems. Df's younger sister has severe dementia and has been in a home for years. Df doesn't have dementia - or not yet - but doesn't, sadly, have the grasp on things he used to (used to have the most superb memory of anyone I've ever met).

So yes, they do need more help, both practical and administrative, than they have now.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 18:44:21

I'm a bit confused here op - you say that you and your sibling were made your parents POA in 2005. Can I ask why?

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:48:53

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow - because under the old system (changed 2006/7?) you could just fill in a form in advance if you needed it, for free, and then if you needed it, you registered it. So being sensible people, and with the advice of sites like MSE, they filled the forms in just before the law changed to what it is now, much more complicated and expensive.

Sibling 3 was planning to then use these forms. BUT it has now turned out that the forms needed to be officially registed back in 2006-7, before the change in the law - apparently. Which they weren't.

Hence we can't use them and have to start from scratch, apparently.

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:49:58

Sorry, to clarify - you filled in the form BEFORE you needed it - then once you did need it, it was cheap and straightforward to use. At least, that was the idea.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 18:50:37

smile no, I mean, why you and your parents thought it necessary to have POAs in 2005.

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:53:05

That's why. They didn't have them registered as they didn't need them then.

The idea was that the forms would all be 'ready to go' if and when they did need them.

Except no-one read the forms properly. smile So that didn't work. But that was the idea.

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:55:04

And as to why they thought they might need POAs one day - well, they're pretty sensible, and it was wodely advertised at the time. I was going to set them up for me and dp too, but missed the deadline - and we're healthy and in our 30s then. It just seemed a sensible 'what if' thing to do.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 18:56:19

no, I mean what was the reason for you and your sibling to have POA in 2005? The reason why your parents handed control of their finances over to you.

cozietoesie Sun 04-May-14 18:58:57

I've not dealt with formal POA matters for several years, but unless the law has changed radically, can the POA not simply be made out for all the siblings who wish to be involved? (I'm assuming you'll have the other legal persons who need to be involved.) Then things can be alowed to quieten a bit (for your parents' sake) and people to be paid for things.

The trouble with this sort of situation is that all sort of emotions can be involved betwen siblings, especially where the family seems a little....fractured guilt, mistrust, desolation at impending loss, feelings of unfairness, covetousness...... The list goes on and on and may/is likely to reflect (with elderly parents) emotions that go back many, many years.

Are you in receipt of legal advice here? You need that, I think, although it seems to me that your problems are your family relationships and not the legal technicalities.

Could I ask - who, if anybody, is destined to look after your DF's sister? And have they made a will yet? These problems are likely to be as nothing to your problems in settling an estate without one.

topbanana1 Sun 04-May-14 18:59:06

Oh, we were chosen because we lived in the UK. And are sensible.

Sibling 2 is terminally irresponsible and lived in the US for half of the year, travelling the other half.

Sibling 1 had never shown any interest or expressed an opinion, lived in the US and hardly ever came over. Had no part in helping out when dparents ill, repairs needed etc.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 19:00:45

Ok. I don't mean to sound patronising here and please don't take this the wrong way because things written down can come across very differently than if you were saying them face to face but are you sure you mean POA as in Power of Attorney?

When you were in your 30's, who were you and your dp going to appoint as your POA's?

They didn't hand over control of finances, NotSuch. They filled in the forms, intending them to be used at an unspecfied future date when they did want to hand control of the finances over.

florencedombey Sun 04-May-14 19:02:17

Hi. The EPAs made in 2005 will still be valid, even if not registered. All that happened in 2007 was that it became impossible to make new EPAs, so after that date only LPAs could be made. So long as the 2005 docs were properly signed and witnessed, they are still perfectly usable. There is no need to register them unless and until your parents begin to lose mental capacity. If your brother wants to help them in the mean time, he can do so using the unregistered EPAs. Sometimes frontline bank staff aren't as clued up as they should be in powers of attorney so they may give incorrect advice (such as they need to be registered before they can be used). Many banks have specialist power of attorney departments, so if you feel the branch staff are not being helpful, it is always worth asking them to contact their power of attorney dept.

Hope this is some help.

CoolCadbury Sun 04-May-14 19:04:45

OP, can you and your 3rd sibling not talk to your parents about the practicalities of having no.1 as POA and how difficult it would be? Maybe get their solicitor/accountant to give them impartial advice? They sound quite vulnerable and the no.1 sounds like he is almost bullying them.

florencedombey Sun 04-May-14 19:05:08

Ps. If in doubt consult a solicitor, preferably a member of STEP or Solicitors for the Elderly. Most of us are quite friendly you know wink

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 04-May-14 19:06:58

Ah, I see blush thanks DebbieofMaddox, that clarifies it, I was very confused!!

Well then I go back to my original comment, which was that it's the parents choice who the POA is.

Foodylicious Sun 04-May-14 19:07:34

Do your parents have a social worker? they might be best placed in getting your parents assessed as having capacity to still choose you and sibling 3 as POA.
Your parents may well need help with the day to day organising of things but this does not necessarily mean they do not have capacity to decide who helps them with this.
A social worker will be able to help point you in the right direction to get this sorted. Hopefully without too much expensive solicitors fees.

Good luck!

Also Age UK are brilliant!! check out their website for more advice

doziedoozie Sun 04-May-14 19:09:52

I think the bottom line here is how much dosh do your DPs have?

Perhaps a will sharing everything equally between siblings will appease sibling1 and you can go ahead with the POA and spend as and when.

Foodylicious Sun 04-May-14 19:09:57

There are two types of LPA.

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions about the donor’s property and money.
A Personal Welfare LPA covers decisions about the donor’s healthcare and personal welfare.

make sure they sort out both soon if thats what they want

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