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Aunt in nursing home and her 'friend' has disposed of her possessions, please advise...

(96 Posts)
CoffeeBreakIn5 Mon 10-Apr-17 23:50:28

My aunt is in a nursing home and has Alzheimer's disease, she has been there for 2.5 years and my father is legally responsible for her affairs. When she was taken into the home after a fall, her friend remained living in her house, he had moved there a year earlier after his wife was taken into a nursing home where she still remains. The friend is elderly and frail, he was a good companion to my Aunt and so the issue of him living in the house was never challenged as we believe that she would want him to stay there and social services told us that he had rights to remain there due to his age and poor health.

Since my father was granted Deputy for her affairs a few months ago the Office of Public Guardian have met with him and they are concerned about the friend living there without paying rent. The house is owned fully by my Aunt and there is no mortgage, he took over paying all utilities. After another letter from OPG he brought the subject up with the friend who didn't engage with the conversation. My father felt compromised because social services had already advised that because the friend is elderly he couldn't be asked to leave anyway.

2 weeks ago a relative of the friend contacted my father's place of work and told him that the friend had moved out and that they would bring him the keys to the property. This morning they still hadn't brought the keys and so I contacted the relative who said he didn't know where they were as the friend still had them and that he hadn't been to the property other than to drive past to check on it. He said that he could probably get the keys in the next few hours and that we could collect them from him tonight.

There have been a few issues with the friend's family in the past. When my Aunt initially took ill and was taken into hospital his relative gave her own details as her next of kin and emergency contact, she knew my father was always this person but did not even inform him that she had taken ill. He found out a few days later when he went to visit and found that she was not there, the friend told him where she was. When my Aunt was moved to the nursing home a meeting took place between social services, my father and the friend's family. I was not at the meeting but afterwards the friend and his family have made no contact, my father has checked in on the friend a few times but has been made to feel unwelcome.

My father collected the keys today and has been round to find that there is nothing left in the house, the house was fully furnished and full of my Aunt's possessions when she lived there and was filled with same things the last time the friend was visited by my family. Every last possession has gone. My father went to the friend's new house to be told by the friend that he has donated everything to charity and that my father didn't show an interest in any of her things so he gave them all away. He admitted to having the dining suite in his spare room and the cabinet was in his living room. My father didn't ever ask about the possessions previously to this because he didn't want to appear to be hassling an elderly man. He (naively) thought that if the friend left then he would leave my aunt's possessions as they were. It transpires from a neighbour that friend's family were there today after I'd spoken to them about returning the key and the friend has said he'd given a lot of the possessions to them.

My Aunt is still alive, my father is looking after her assets. What on earth can he do from a legal perspective? They have taken the fence, decking, garden gate and a shed. They have also taken all appliances from the kitchen. All that is left is a sofa and a bed.

Evalina Mon 10-Apr-17 23:56:39

It's theft so you should contact the police. You could give them 24 hours to return everything if you think that would help. He was staying as a guest in your aunt's home so had no right to take anything that didn't belong to him..

Gingernaut Mon 10-Apr-17 23:58:16

Agree with PP. Theft. Police.

ijustwannadance Mon 10-Apr-17 23:59:24

Absolute arseholes. I'd contact the police too.

HecateAntaia Tue 11-Apr-17 00:01:17

absolutely the police.
it is theft and it is financial abuse of a vulnerable adult.

WatchingFromTheWings Tue 11-Apr-17 00:03:27

Police. First thing in the morning. I'd be checking things like bank accounts and savings too incase they have been raised.

confuugled1 Tue 11-Apr-17 00:08:46

I would be calling the police on the non-urgent number and getting their advice.

Sounds awful - like they have deliberately done this in this way in order to get everything. The fact they didn't bother to ask speaks volumes - as does the timing...

They weren't his things to give away, let alone his family. What would be the effect of firing off a solicitor's letter? Do you think they would give them back? Or would it cost more than they were worth? Do you think your dad would sell the house to get the money to look after your aunt or was he thinking of getting tenants in - in which case would he have had to get new ones anyway and therefore asking them to replace or provide the money to replace them work out OK?

Were there any valuable or sentimental things that have been disposed of that you can get back?

Not sure from your post if the family gave things to the neighbour or if they took them themselves - but would they be prepared to give things back?

Might also be worth asking them asap which charity shops/other places have been given the things - you would then be able to contact them and say that these things were stolen from your aunt's house and you are trying to get them back, particularly for the things you want. Unfortunately likely to be a sooner rather than later thing but another reason to contact the police so you have a crime number to get these people to take you seriously. Although I wonder how many things have been donated to charity and how many they have put on ebay (have you checked?) or similar and are selling for their own benefit!!

Good luck in sorting it all out - what a horrible predicament to find yourselves in.

FastMakoShark Tue 11-Apr-17 00:11:35

What absolute thieving scumbags, what grounds does anyone have to think your father wouldn't want everything

AirandMungBeans Tue 11-Apr-17 00:33:29

What scudders! Definitely the police, it's theft and it seems that the friend's family knew full well what they were doing.

CoffeeBreakIn5 Tue 11-Apr-17 07:02:03

Thank you for your supportive and lovely replies, they are absolute and utter scum bags. The house was to be sold to fund nursing home fees, my aunt is wealthy and has to self fund because of this. Luckily my dad has access to all bank accounts and his name is on them as he is legally her deputy. That's the one thing that has turned out ok, at least her finances are in order.

I'm going to the police this morning, I'm so gutted that they've taken her personal things. I can't prove what was there that's the only problem. I will contact the insurance company to see if she had anything specific listed as there was a lot of family jewellery, this has been mentioned in her will so I'm hoping there is evidence of its existence.

Thank you so much, I will update x

FastMakoShark Tue 11-Apr-17 09:22:22

What country are you in OP? Just wondered becuase of some of your terminology
Hope it went well with the Police

CoffeeBreakIn5 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:54:34

I'm in the UK. I'm not sure of the legal terms so I probably sound a bit weird.

I called social services today to ask their advice seeing as the friend is classed as a vulnerable adult. I spoke to the person who was looking after my aunt when she was taken into the home who was horrified at what had happened. She has contact with a relative of the friend with regards to the friend, she said she would call the relative and ask about the personal belongings and have her call my father. She didn't call.

I went to the house today, everything has gone including light fittings and there are holes in the ceiling where they used to be. I phoned the police non emergency and explained what had happened and they said it's theft. They're coming to visit on Thursday night to take statements. Hopefully they'll be able to help but they won't be able to retrieve any of the photographs and pictures, I already know that. The difficulty will be that we don't have an inventory of what was in the house, but as my aunt left the house unexpectedly I'm hoping that the expectation would be that her belongings should be as she left them. There was no contract between her and her friend and as he is married they aren't classed as cohabiting.

The friend was supposed to be a companion to live with, it seems that even involving social services didn't keep her safe. My father feels terrible as it happened under his nose, but it's hard to explain how it has happened.

blueskyinmarch Tue 11-Apr-17 19:59:33

How awful that this has happened. I hope the police can take it forward and make those scumbags pay for what they have done.

ijustwannadance Tue 11-Apr-17 20:43:47

I am still completely shocked and appalled that anyone would do this. To strip out even the fittings.

Hopefully the jewellery will be well documented. They will no doubt try to sell their haul. Scumbags.

TheAntiBoop Tue 11-Apr-17 20:50:41

Dh's gran was targeted by an old man who was after her money. Unfortunately crooks don't seem to retire

Good luck with the police. fingers crossed he kept more than you expect.

Might be worth checking the local charity shops and ask if any particular things were dropped off?

notapizzaeater Tue 11-Apr-17 20:58:42

That's shocking, I'd get a solicitor / police yo do something ASAP just In case some of it can be retrieved

fannydaggerz Tue 11-Apr-17 21:06:46

That's awful.

I really hope you're aunt gets her things back.

FastMakoShark Tue 11-Apr-17 21:22:06

You don't sound weird I just wondered if you meant power of attorney when you said deputy that's all, or if it was something else

Really think this is a horrible horrible thing to have happened and hope you manage to get it sorted out quickly

PuntCuffin Tue 11-Apr-17 21:41:22

Deputy is correct when it is granted by the Office of the Public Guardian. This comes in when someone does not set up Power of Attorney prior to becoming legally incompetent. It is similar, but comes with greater responsibility and requires regular inspection by the OPG.

What a nasty, shitty thing to have done to a vulnerable old woman. Photos and pictures particularly when someone has Alzheimers because they can help them hold onto their memories. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. flowers

seven201 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:06:09

flowers such a shitty vile thing to do. I'm glad you've gone to the police.

CoffeeBreakIn5 Wed 12-Apr-17 08:32:32

Punt yes that's what happened, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and a few months later she fell, it was after the fall that the hospital and social services felt she should be in a home as she became much, much worse. Social services took power of attorney and were responsible for her affairs but then they said they were reluctant because her estate was so big. My father is only one of two of her relatives still alive and my aunt doesn't speak to the other relative. My father took on the role and is answerable to the Office of the Public Guardian who were not happy about the friend living there without a contract and without paying rent.

It's just so sad, 75 years on the earth so far and not a possession left. Thank you for the lovely messages, I really hope the police can do something to punish those responsible, I doubt we'd get any of the possessions back now but at least if there are consequences for these sick people then that's something.

TheAntiBoop I'm so sorry this happened to your DH's gran, did you manage to intervene before he took anything? My father had a bad feeling about this family when he first met them, he organised meetings between himself, them and social services so that everyone was known to the authorities just incase. The family totally backed off after this, the friend still visited the nursing home but there was no sign of his relatives, the first we had heard of them for ages was when one of them rang to say the friend had moved out.

AdaColeman Wed 12-Apr-17 08:52:55

What a dreadful thing for these horrible people to do to your poor Aunt. I'm so glad that you are involving the police, and I hope they take action over it.

I can't help feeling that your family were badly advised by social services regarding allowing the "friend" to continue living in the house once your Aunt had gone into the home.
It strikes me that SS did this so that they wouldn't become responsible for the care of the old man, and has led to this awful situation you are now in.

I really hope you get some answers from these thieves when they are questioned by the police.

whataboutbob Wed 12-Apr-17 14:01:11

It's obviously theft, maybe the family were hoping the old guy would live there rent free for the rest of his life. Social services saying he had rights is incorrect but it got them off the hook having to rehouse him. If he had stayed on it could have got tricky getting him out, would have involved a solicitor and eviction according to the law which could have been lengthy and expensive but you'd have got him out eventually.

TheAntiBoop Wed 12-Apr-17 14:10:47

He was playing a long game with her and planning to get her to leave everything to him. Our main concern was hat he would try and hasten her death tbh. Luckily it was just some money and a few objects with worth but no sentimental value. Getting him away from her was the primary aim!

whataboutbob Wed 12-Apr-17 14:10:59

Also I agree with the Pp who advised checking aunt's bank statements very carefully and noting any odd transactions. If not done already your dad should get all the mail re directed to his address. You don't want them getting hold of her bank details.

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