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To Be Concerned About Elderly Person with Dementia and Equity Release..?

(12 Posts)
JoffreyBaratheon Thu 04-Aug-16 12:24:38

I have an elderly in-law who has had dementia for quite some time (not formally diagnosed til recently but he was acting in a very uncharacteristic way, the past few years...)

He's currently in hospital but about to be released home. He was widowed in the 1990s and has lived alone, ever since.

We wondered for a long time how, as a pensioner - who had had a low paid job when he worked, and had no savings etc so far as we knew - he paid for the new cars that appeared periodically.

Now, family are starting to say they think he may have been conned by some equity release sold to him a few years back. It would be a moot point whether he had dementia at that point and even if he had, it wasn't diagnosed til recently.

Anyone have any experience of similar? He may not have been deliberately targeted, but it is apparent when you speak to him, within moments - and has been for several years - that he had some kind of memory issues (eg: he forgot how many kids he had, and what their names were - has known me since the 1980s but phones me randomly then wonders who he's speaking to....)

I wonder if he has been taken advantage of and whether, if we find out he has signed away his house, and did it after he was obviously confused, we have any recourse in law?

It looks like my husband is going to have to sort out some kind of Power of Attorney. We know nothing about this kind of thing, although I am already the Appointee for my son who is a disabled young adult. I have a feeling this might be, legally, different. Again, any advice from people who have been there, would be useful.

VioletBam Fri 05-Aug-16 01:43:26

Why do you think he was conned? Equity Release is a legal route to free up cash....it's not always a sensible one...but when people are cash poor and want some money, they are entitled to do it.

If your inlaw was not diagnosed with anything then he will have signed up of his own free will.

redexpat Fri 05-Aug-16 01:47:57

I dont think there's much point speculating until you know more about what has actually happened.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 05-Aug-16 02:22:33

If he was well enough to buy and drive new cars 'periodically' surely that means money was appearing for some years while he was still well. It might be hard to prove he didn't have capacity to sign a contract that long ago. And just because someone has lapses in some areas, doesn't mean they can't make decisions in others. You can talk to SS if you are worried about financial abuse.

MammyV Fri 05-Aug-16 07:49:59

Unfortunately if he was 'of sound mind' and not officially diagnosed then with no POA there is nothing you can do. He was within his rights to get equity release and company was ok to provide the service. Equity release is very rigorous now, he would have had to have a witness to sign with him, so give out who that was first and have a chat

CaptainCrunch Fri 05-Aug-16 07:55:39

Agree with pp, it was his money and property to do whatever he chose with. If he was capable of buying and driving cars with the money raised he was capable of making the decision of how to raise it. It's really none of your business.

EnquiringMingeWantsToKnow Fri 05-Aug-16 08:02:02

Well it will be her DH's business, because he'll have to take over all his financial affairs so he needs to know all the details.

But it's perfectly likely that it's a legitimate scheme, and if he was competent to go out and buy, insure, tax, drive cars for several years after this scheme was taken out, then there's no particular reason to challenge its validity.

PurpleWithRed Fri 05-Aug-16 08:03:54

Agree with everyone else re. equity release - but agree that someone needs to get POA lined up for when he loses capacity, and that person needs to understand what his wishes for the future are.

SaucyJack Fri 05-Aug-16 08:05:42

Why do you feel it was a con, if he spent the money on himself?

It might not have been what his inheritors would have preferred him to do with his money, but I'm not getting the issue TBH. Sorry.

RoxytheRexy Fri 05-Aug-16 09:23:07

If you need to take over financial affairs of someone with dementia then try to do a Power of Attorney as soon as you can. However Power of Attorney can only be given if someone is in sound mind. If he doesn't have capacity you are looking at needing guardianship through the court of protection which is a whole other ball ache.

The Elderly Parents section here is good.

davos Fri 05-Aug-16 09:30:41

I can't tell you all the ins and outs legally.

I can tell you that we recently lost my grandad. He had dementia.

Before his diagnosis, one of my aunts kept taking him up to the bank to with draw large amounts of cash. We were pushing for diagnosis at the time. We sought legal advice, SS advice, help the aged advice. All said the same, he was classed as 'of sound body and mind' and therefore nothing could be done. If the relative was living alone, unaided and still driving around when he did this, I very much doubt there will be any legal recourse. Why would there be? surely if he is able to drive himself about, he was able to make a decision about his finances.

As it happens he had yet another incident of wondering the streets and ended up being sectioned, then diagnosed and placed in a home. Another auntie got guarded ship through the court of protection.

As soon as all this was in place SS stepped in and told the aunt who kept taking him to the bank for money, that she had to stop or the police would be involved as he wasn't in a position to make decisions for himself. The home even banned her from taking him out at all, through the courts.

It's very difficult and you have my sympathy but you can't undo something he did when he was an independent person of sound mind.

ExConstance Fri 05-Aug-16 09:36:16

Mental Capacity is not "blanket" you can be fully capable of making some decisions, need support with others and be incapable of making others. If you are saying that he is now incapable of managing his financial affairs you may already be in a situation where an application to the Court of Protection will be required. DH and his brother had to go down this route with their mother who has a complex mental health history plus dementia, if you tackle it one step at a time it is not nearly as bad as people tend to suggest.

Usually for Equity Release even in the 1990s you have to have independent legal advice before proceeding and there is always a some sort of protection as to the amount left or the provision to be able to remain in the house for life. Why would it indicate being conned to be free to spend your equity on enjoying yourself rather than using it to pay for care or leave it to your relations?

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