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92 year old aunt's "friend"

(41 Posts)
Spickle Fri 12-Feb-16 10:04:22

I hope that this is in the correct section - apols if not.

Here we go...

My elderly aunt (92) is being cared for by her neighbour (let's call him 'Freddy', 84) which on the face of it is great given that the aunt is quite a way away from family and to be fair he does go round every day and called the ambulance when she had a bad turn etc etc. So far so good. However as you might imagine this is where things start taking a different turn... aunt has changed her Will to leave the majority of her estate to 'Freddy'. Again while it may put a few noses out of joint, I know it's her money/estate, she can do what she likes. The issue is it, potentially, then becomes a little more murky. Not only has 'Freddy' got power of attorney and is now trying to stop her family from talking to/seeing her ("she's upset and doesn't want to talk to/see you. I've got P.o.A. and I don't want to talk to you"), again not proof positive and it could be genuine. She does appear to be confused as it was she who told my mum that she was changing her Will and that he had Power of Attorney and then denied it (though does appear to be true). There are other things she has forgotten or has back tracked on, even though up until recently she was of sound mind. Freddy seems to have moved into her home, even though his own home is only a few doors away. The issue is that he has got previous with this (which was known), he became friendly with a widow, looked after her and was left a healthy sum and my family has now found out he'd actually done this to yet another widow prior to this and had a major falling out with that late lady's family... unfortunately, we have no names and no idea how to trace anyone connected to these ladies.

Now I am not and have never expected to gain from her Will, but my mum (86) is her only surviving sibling and is pretty upset that her sister has put her trust in this man who she has known as a neighbour for many years but not known him well until around two years ago when his previous lady friend died. Because he is 84 years old himself, we are aware that if her estate passes to him, it won't be too long before it passes to his next of kin, his two children, who we don't know from Adam. My aunt has quite a few nephews and nieces, as well as her sister (my mum), but does not have a husband (long ago passed away) or children. Now she has fallen out with her only remaining sibling "I told you in confidence", except it was a niece she told, not her sibling) and these suspicions are floating around like a bad smell. The question obviously is what, if anything, can be done. We think that aunt is fully compos mentis but who knows....

Any advice?

Apologies for long post......

FredaMayor Fri 12-Feb-16 10:10:08

First off, get to a solicitor asap, and see what this cove does when he knows you are taking advice. Look at mental capacity and coercion with input from a psychologist, you will need that anyway if you are to challenge the newer 'will'. Isolating your aunt and 'previous' are enough reasons for you to take this seriously.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 12-Feb-16 10:13:01

I would contact AgeUK today and talk to them further about this matter. Their advice sheet may prove useful for you to read as well:-

www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/FS78_Safeguarding_older_people_from_abuse_fcs.pdf?dtrk=true

Stuffofawesome Fri 12-Feb-16 10:15:47

If there is financial abuse going on you can report it to the safeguarding team in her area. They will have seen this kind of thing before. I think it is the Office of the public guardian where POA has to be lodged (and paid for). There is also separate for health/welfare and finances so if he doesn't have it for both he is not in total control. You could ask her gp if they have seen the POA certificate because if they haven't they can't act as if he has. I would also check when the last will was signed etc.

MrsJayy Fri 12-Feb-16 10:19:39

Contact adult social services in her area she is a vulnerable person a solicitor and see what they say your aunt could need help

MrsJayy Fri 12-Feb-16 10:21:51

I wonder if freddy benefitted from his last lady friend

CocktailQueen Fri 12-Feb-16 10:23:59

In order for Freddy to have got POA, he would have had to get a professional - lawyer, financial advisor, accountant - to vouch for him.

POA is for dealing with financial matters and caring for a person - nothing to do with controlling their lives and stopping them from speaking to people. That's a huge red flag.

I'd go with your mum to see your aunt asap. Take her out for lunch - away from the house, away from Freddie - and see if she'll talk to you. Then you can assess her mental state and how she is feeling about things. She sounds very vulnerable, and Freddy sounds like a nasty bastard.

derxa Fri 12-Feb-16 10:24:13

These cockroaches are everywhere. My dad died last year at 92. He had what we thought was a very kind neighbour. I lived over 300 miles away and this man became my father's carer and my dad was handing out cheques willy nilly to him. Eventually I gave up my job and lived with my dad for the nine months before his death. The neighbour did not like it.
We had joint POA which in hindsight was crazy.
You don't want to be accused of money grabbing but this man is a criminal pure and simple. Go to a solicitor and round up the family. This should not be happening

FlossieTurner Fri 12-Feb-16 10:28:42

The holding of a POA goes hand in hand with keeping accurate record of spending.
If you feel concerned do not wait. Contact

.opg.safeguardingunit@publicguardian.gsi.gov.uk

Or phone Office of Public Guardian 0300 456 0300

You will find them very helpful.

Mooey89 Fri 12-Feb-16 10:28:54

Older persons social worker here - you need to contact adult services in your area, also office of the public guardian.
If he does have power of attorney, they can check. If he is not using it in her best interests, they can revoke it. Happy for you to Pm me with any questions.

FlossieTurner Fri 12-Feb-16 10:29:43

There is no need to go to a solicitor, the Public Guardian is there for that purpose.

Needcaffeinenow Fri 12-Feb-16 10:30:48

Contact local adult social services and tell them you want to raise a safeguarding concern. Tell them you are feel she may not have the mental capacity to consent. They should get involved straight away to investigate. Unfortunately, this is really common.

MrsJayy Fri 12-Feb-16 10:31:57

My uncle (mums bil) did it to my gran bought her council flat nobody knew until after nan had signed mums sister thought it would give her security she was nearly 80 ffs my mum got POA for her pension and other bits after that they are greedy feckers they are not carers

Marchate Fri 12-Feb-16 10:32:08

PoA is not identical in all the UK countries. In Scotland there's an Office of the Public Guardian. They have to be satisfied that the person with PoA is doing their best, not seeking personal gain etc. I'm sure similar applies throughout the UK

Also PoA is meant to click in when and as required. So if the person can't get out, this could mean banking & bill paying. Later it could mean health decisions. Never does it mean isolating an elderly lady from her family. That is abuse, and it's illegal

Get legal advice before this greedy man tears your family apart

CheersMedea Fri 12-Feb-16 11:02:15

Agree with all the advice above re: seeing a solicitor sharpish.

But don't hang around. Speed is of the absolute essence here. For two reasons, if she is becoming more forgetful etc as time goes by it will become harder to challenge the power of attorney (this is rather the point of them for older people; you make them when in sound mind so when you can't manage your affairs, you have rationally chosen who to manage them) and secondly (sorry to be blunt) because she is 92, there is a high risk of her dying which would mean you were plunged into probate litigation.

It is much better to try to sort this out now while she is alive.

CocktailQueen Fri 12-Feb-16 11:10:06

From the Office of the Public Guardian website:

*Contact the Office of the Public Guardian if you have concerns about an attorney or a deputy, eg the misuse of money or decisions that aren’t in the best interests of the person they’re responsible for.

Office of the Public Guardian
opg.safeguardingunit@publicguardian.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Textphone: 0115 934 2778
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Wednesday, 10am to 5pm*

Good luck, OP.

Marchate Fri 12-Feb-16 12:53:15

Find out today x

ElsieMc Fri 12-Feb-16 13:07:36

Do not hesitate on this matter. My DM who had early dementia had a hairdresser who was staying for hours at a time then suddenly her daughter became my DM's cleaner. She was drawing money from the bank and kept it in her bureau but days later she said she had nothing. One weekend I checked after they had been and it was all gone. Unfortunately my mum would not have a single word said against them and collected press cuttings and photographs of hairdresser's daughter as though she was her own. Trying to speak to her was hopeless, she would rather lose me, her own daughter.

I rang ss to alert them, but they said that the carers that went in once a day would immediately become suspects and matters would be very awkward. I felt torn because we relied on the carer's visits.

One week my mum's bank manager rang me as he was so concerned about the amount of cash she was withdrawing. I know it was a serious breach of data, but I know he acted in my mum's best interests. Several hundred pounds had gone within days with nothing to show for it.

Matters have gone much further in your case. Ours ended when my mum had a fall, was admitted to hospital and then into a Care Home. We never saw either of them again.

Rosa Fri 12-Feb-16 13:11:56

Move fast as if she was sound of mind and is now becoming 'forgetful' I wonder what else Freddy is up to. It could be age but there is some excellent advice on here . Its not about the money but about her care in her old age.

derxa Fri 12-Feb-16 13:13:32

Unfortunately my mum would not have a single word said against them and collected press cuttings and photographs of hairdresser's daughter as though she was her own. Trying to speak to her was hopeless, she would rather lose me, her own daughter. Yes this is my experience. Elderly people are easily taken in by flattery and they don't want to hear straight talking from their own family. It's part of a regression to childhood.

PoundingTheStreets Fri 12-Feb-16 13:17:08

Definitely act on this and quickly. My great aunt was relieved of "42,000" by her carer that we were never able to get back nor see the carer brought to justice (the money wasn't the issue, but the exploitation was).

goddessofsmallthings Fri 12-Feb-16 13:25:38

Unless it's been registered with the Court of Protection, power of attorney can be revoked at any time. If Freddy made application to register his alleged poa he would have been required to give the names and addresses of your aunt's nearest relatives who would have been asked to give their consent or dissent to it being registered in his favour.

There's also the question of whether your aunt can be said to be of sound mind at the time she changed her Will/gave Freddy poa over her financial affairs.

You've had sound advice from others (above) but I would suggest you tread carefully as it very much sounds as if your aunt needs a considerable amount of care which you/your family members may not be able to provide as she's not living nearby.

My concern would be that invoking Adult Services and other agencies may provoke a situation whereby your aunt confirms that she's happy with the cuirrent arrangements without being properly assessed for senile dementia or other conditions which could affect her judgement.

Is there any possibility that you or a member of your family could temporarily move in with your aunt and, effectively, see Freddy off with mention of the Court of Proection, solicitors, police etc? If he's got form for preying on elderly widows it should be relatively easy to put the fear of jailtime into dislodge him, but you will still have the question of your aunt's longer term care needs to resolve.

jonquil1 Fri 12-Feb-16 13:31:07

Just throwing this in, don't know if it applies or is any use...

My mil, in extreme old age and mad as a box of frogs, was persuaded to change her will, legally, through a solicitor and everything, to leave everything, but everything, including properties, etc. To her new friend, who had isolated her from her friends and family. Phone no's. Were taken away so, obv. She couldn't keep in touch with anyone that way. And then she died and all was revealed.

She'd had a spell in hospital prior to her death, and they were aware of her mental capacity.

Oh and his family challenged her will, successfully, and I think the term "undue I influence" was used.

Sorry v. Sketchy, don't have lots of time atm but that's the nub of it. Well worth seeing a solicitor, I reckon.

51howdidthathappen Fri 12-Feb-16 13:38:24

You can find out from the office of public guardian if a POA has been registered. That would be my first step. If it has been registered, get a copy.
If the paperwork has been done correctly, your only hope is proving your Aunt had lack of capacity at the time. Extremely difficult.
My mother's case is due to start in the court of protection, at the end of the month, to determine what is in my mother's best interests. The paperwork was not done correctly, we have been fighting for over three years.
A POA is far too easy to obtain.
I wish you the best of luck.

ajandjjmum Fri 12-Feb-16 13:41:10

Wow - OP. Horrible situation for you, but what a great response from MN. I really hope you are able to sort this out quickly, with minimal stress for your DM and yourself.

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