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AIBU?

To think that family members removing possessions from my nan's house when she's still alive is not right?

36 replies

Vulturelike · 29/01/2024 22:42

Nan has an informal dx of dementia via the nursing home she is in, but has not been formally assessed. She is not orientated to time or place and thinks dead relatives are alive. She does not have capacity to make decisions about her own possessions due to an inability to understand, weigh up and retain information about such decisions.

Two of her sons have POA. A third son is excluded as he has major drug and social problems.

One son has the house keys and has been inviting the grandchildren to come and scavenge the house for any desired possessions, prior to house clearance and sale. His own daughters have been the main beneficiaries as he allows them unfettered access via his key. Jewellery has been removed by them, and in one example a grandchild found £20 in a coat pocket and took it home to spend on baby formula.

I am feeling very uncomfortable about this occurring whilst she is still alive. I feel all valuable assets not mentioned in the will ought to be sold and the money put into her care needs.

Worth noting that only the drug addict son is of any financial need. The grandchildren and other siblings are extremely comfortable. The one that took money for baby formula owns their own home, has a partner with a good income, and has their needs met by their parents. They didn't take the £20 out of desperation.

AIBU to think it is wrong for people to be taking random items?

I think this counts as "gifting" from the POA and should be strictly limited.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

163 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
18%
You are NOT being unreasonable
82%
Kendodd · 29/01/2024 22:49

Sounds like the house it being ready for sale? If so, it needs to be cleared.

Vulturelike · 29/01/2024 22:50

Kendodd · 29/01/2024 22:49

Sounds like the house it being ready for sale? If so, it needs to be cleared.

Cleared, yes. I just don't think this is the way to go about it.

OP posts:
MILTOBE · 29/01/2024 22:53

They sound really awful. Your poor Nan. What an awful way for her life to end, going into a home and her family scavenging her house.

Windymcwindyson · 29/01/2024 22:57

When my ndn managed to get her dm into a home(poor woman was told for the week end only) the fumes off the sil's car still hung in the air as her dd dumped her sideboard photos in the wheelie bin.. Some people are just cunts..

Dogdilemma2000 · 29/01/2024 23:00

Clearing house of niknaks, pots and pans she’s not going to use is one thing.

Jewellery and any valuables not - the will needs to be taken into account surely?

MCOut · 29/01/2024 23:01

They’re harbour sharks truly

MoonWoman69 · 29/01/2024 23:14

Had this when we cleared my grans house when she moved into a care home. Yes, the house needed clearing. So we (dads brother, his two sons, my cousins, my aunt and my dad) agreed to meet there one Saturday morning. I couldn't get there til half twelve as I was working. I was horrified when I got there, it was a total free for all. The only thing I wanted, my auntie had squirelled off into the car, taken home and come back. (My grandma was a tailoress at Burton's for 50+ years and she had a lovely sewing machine, which she taught me on when I was young). Don't know where half of her personal effects went... My dad was very honest and level headed, but I think he was just happy to have someone help clear the house!
Family are bloody vultures in the main...

parietal · 29/01/2024 23:16

if the jewellery is worth less than £100 per item, you'd get at most half of that at auction. Better to have it stay in the family with grandchildren who might appreciate a memento of their nan.

if the jewellery etc is really worth £1000+, then it should be valued as part of the (future) estate. the family members could buy it from the estate if they don't want it to be sold.

but really, cheap jewellery and £20 quid is not worth making a fuss about before a house clearance job.

Silvers11 · 29/01/2024 23:24

Unfortunately, family members are often vultures, in this situation. I agree with you entirely though.

Rosscameasdoody · 29/01/2024 23:28

The mental health act on which lasting power of attorney is based, states that the donor (in this case nan) should be involved as much as possible in any decisions taken on their behalf and attorneys should make every effort to assist them to make their wishes known. It doesn’t sound as though that’s what is happening here, and if she hasn’t even had a formal diagnosis they could well be breaking the law.

At the time the LPA is drawn up, the donor has to provide instructions as to whether it can be used as soon as it is registered - in which case the attorneys have to agree decisions with the donor. If the instruction is that the LPA is not to be used until capacity is lost, then they should have a formal diagnosis and a declaration of loss of capacity from someone qualified to make that determination before acting on the donors’ behalf. Even then, every effort should be made to involve the donor in what is happening.

If you have any serious doubts you could contact the office of the public guardian and report your concerns. They will then investigate and if abuse of the LPA is found, they will dissolve it and appoint an independent guardian to look after the donors’ affairs. I hope the family realise that they should be keeping records of assets belonging to the donors’ estate - including personal items of value - how they have been disposed of, and the monetary value. They should also be keeping a record of how money belonging to the donor has been spent.

Believeinmarmite · 29/01/2024 23:50

This happened when my gran went I to a home too, personally not at all bothered by the value of it and there wasn't much of any value anyway, I was encouraged to take whatever I wanted but it felt very odd going through her things knowing she was still alive But houses need to be cleared otherwise that cost money too.

BreakingAndBroke · 30/01/2024 00:04

If your nan was in her right mind I'm sure she would want jewellery to be kept in the family rather than sold via a clearance house. The jewellery may hold more sentimental value than monetary value.

Similarly, surely it is better for someone to put £20 towards baby formula for your Nan's great grandchild than split £20 between 3 sons, 3 grandchildren and however many great grandchildren. It's £20! It's not going to have a huge impact on the value of her estate in relation to the value of her property.

NewName24 · 30/01/2024 00:06

parietal · 29/01/2024 23:16

if the jewellery is worth less than £100 per item, you'd get at most half of that at auction. Better to have it stay in the family with grandchildren who might appreciate a memento of their nan.

if the jewellery etc is really worth £1000+, then it should be valued as part of the (future) estate. the family members could buy it from the estate if they don't want it to be sold.

but really, cheap jewellery and £20 quid is not worth making a fuss about before a house clearance job.

This.

If someone is in a care home and not going to come home, then you need to clear the house.
In an ideal world, all people equally related would do this together (so, the person's children, or the person's children and all grandchildren) but realistically this is very difficult to co-ordinate in many families.

You'd like to think, in a normal loving family, that the person leading on the clearing the house would think to ask anyone who couldn't come to the house, if there is anything they might want, but, in truth 'possessions' from an older person's house are not only going to raise very little even if someone has the time and the energy to start selling things, but many people end up paying a house clearance firm to clear the house.
It is a stressful and busy time. I understand why people have to crack on with things.

Ishouldgodostuff · 30/01/2024 00:16

My Mum is now in her mid 90's & duly sorting & giving away bits & pieces as she decides - fortunately she is pretty ok mentally, has a few physical health issues.
One of her big concerns has always been that our youngest brother would access her house after her death & clear it/ransack it & so I had been given strict instructions to remove her wallet for safekeeping before he arrived (after the event obviously). I have POA for her & consider it a privilege to support her & do what she asks - & it makes my blood boil to think of those oldies being taken advantage of by their POA's, often family.

But dont the chickens come home to roost - brothers relationship has broken up so he has turned up at hers & is now living there again. She doesnt like the lack of freedom & independence she had before but she wont ask him to go (he's her son). But now she quietly tries to talk with me about what she wants me to do with stuff now while he is making cups of tea or outside having a smoke.

Upon her death I can imagine him calling up his ex to help him take stuff away - they used to comment on things they liked to use in their own home (TV for the girls room), heaters when its cold.
So - I dont want to strip my Mums home bare while shes still in it but I know what you mean about family turning into vultures when things are still to be sorted & dealt with

MrsSkylerWhite · 30/01/2024 00:20

It sounds distasteful as you’ve written it. What’s the alternative, though? An house clearance company?

JohnMytton · 30/01/2024 00:22

This reply has been deleted

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

HeddaGarbled · 30/01/2024 00:29

Relatives who don’t do anything useful and just carp from the sidelines are always keen for stuff to be “sold”. Sold how though?

It’s a massive amount of work to clear a house. The grieving, overburdened son doesn’t haven’t have the time or emotional capacity to be photographing items and putting them on eBay and negotiating with potential buyers and packing and sending etc. Most of the stuff will be worth bugger all anyway.

The house needs emptying. It’s good if family can keep things rather than it all being junked.

Speaking from experience.

BreakingAndBroke · 30/01/2024 00:34

If her sons have POA, presumably she had some conversations with them at some point about where she wanted her jewellery to go and perhaps they are just fulfilling her wishes by letter their daughters collect it before the house is cleared.

Boyce · 30/01/2024 00:38

Rosscameasdoody · 29/01/2024 23:28

The mental health act on which lasting power of attorney is based, states that the donor (in this case nan) should be involved as much as possible in any decisions taken on their behalf and attorneys should make every effort to assist them to make their wishes known. It doesn’t sound as though that’s what is happening here, and if she hasn’t even had a formal diagnosis they could well be breaking the law.

At the time the LPA is drawn up, the donor has to provide instructions as to whether it can be used as soon as it is registered - in which case the attorneys have to agree decisions with the donor. If the instruction is that the LPA is not to be used until capacity is lost, then they should have a formal diagnosis and a declaration of loss of capacity from someone qualified to make that determination before acting on the donors’ behalf. Even then, every effort should be made to involve the donor in what is happening.

If you have any serious doubts you could contact the office of the public guardian and report your concerns. They will then investigate and if abuse of the LPA is found, they will dissolve it and appoint an independent guardian to look after the donors’ affairs. I hope the family realise that they should be keeping records of assets belonging to the donors’ estate - including personal items of value - how they have been disposed of, and the monetary value. They should also be keeping a record of how money belonging to the donor has been spent.

This. It is also worth knowing that if an independent guardian is appointed, it costs £2.5 k a year.

Boyce · 30/01/2024 00:51

My elderly mother has memory problems. Even before this started, she has always been keen for us to tell her "what we would like when she has gone." We have told her some things such as pictures and ornaments, but these are all of sentimental value rather than monetary. Apart from wedding rings being passed to myself, my sister and my nephew, we have no idea of jewellery and haven't considered it.
The POA will be completed soon and Mum understands what it means.

TiredMum30 · 30/01/2024 01:00

I experienced this when my nan was diagnosed terminally ill, it was awful, my poor nan was in the house, bedbound but she was fully aware of what certain members of the family was doing in the room next door to her and once she'd passed away they got worse, vultures is what we called them! We've not been particularly close with that side of the family since, the thought of them makes me feel nauseous.

Josette77 · 30/01/2024 01:22

I actually think this makes sense. She will not be coming home and I'm presumably wants her family to have her belongings. Easier now before selling.

I actually like that her granddaughter bought formula with her 20. I imagine she'd like that too.

doilooklikeicare · 30/01/2024 01:48

It's does have to cleared now, but either way some respect and not cutting people out. What they may find "trash" maybe super sentimental for others.

It's a sad process.

32degrees · 30/01/2024 03:52

Pocketing the £20 is grim. That is something that your Nan could have easily used herself. I would have said something at the time.

In terms of the 'stuff', unless she has high value items then it's unlikely to be worth the hassle of selling them.

Clearing someone's house is a huge, draining, tedious and complicated thing to do. It usually has to happen in a certain period of time. If you're expecting your uncle to put tea cups and foot stools on eBay, that's not a fair expectation.

If your cousins have taken valuable jewels or expensive oil paintings that would have fetched a material price at resale, then I'd raise it.

But if they're just taking usual household things, then that's probably just practical.

When we cleared my nan's place we ended up having to put perfectly good things in landfill. We offered all to the family, invited charity shops to come, sold 4-5 significant pieces that went to her general pool of assets.

If your uncle is doing the bulk of the work then id try to be helpful and not complain about household knickknacks.

urbanbuddha · 30/01/2024 04:12

but really, cheap jewellery and £20 quid is not worth making a fuss about before a house clearance job.

Or they could have spent it on a box of chocolates or some flowers and given them to OP’s Nan.

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