‘Feckless’ Son Stripped of Power of Attorney

A ‘feckless’ son who irresponsibly accepted a £72,000 gift from his mother and spent the cash on a house renovation has been stripped of his lasting power of attorney over her property and financial affairs.

The mother, aged in her 80s, suffered from moderately severe Alzheimer's disease and the Court of Protection found that she had lacked the mental capacity to make the gift. The money had been raised by way of mortgage over the widow’s home and she had been left in a precarious financial position.

The son had given conflicting accounts of what happened – describing the money as both a loan and an outright gift – and the Court found that he was not a credible witness. He had prioritised his own interests over those of his vulnerable mother and, through the utter fecklessness of his actions, had shown himself to be unsuitable to hold any power over her affairs.

Holocaust Survivor’s Carer Wins Just Reward

A woman who devoted herself to the care of a widow and Holocaust survivor as her health declined has convinced the High Court that the deceased promised to reward her for her kindness with the gift of her £160,000 flat.

Since the deceased’s illness the woman had assisted her in a variety of ways; helping her to keep her flat clean and tidy and looking after her following time in hospital, receiving no remuneration. The deceased, who had escaped the Nazis, believed that she had no surviving relatives, her sister having died in a concentration camp.

The widow’s total estate was worth around £1.3 million. She had made no will and, following her death aged 89, the woman had moved into her flat. However, an ‘heir hunter’ subsequently tracked down two of the pensioner’s cousins and launched proceedings against the woman on behalf the estate.

Accusing the woman of being a trespasser, he sought her removal from the property and also claimed £50,000 from her in respect of almost five years in which she had lived in the flat rent free. In dismissing the heir hunter’s financial claim, however, the Court found that the widow had indeed promised to give her flat to her friend.

The value of the care that the woman had given to the widow was assessed at £70,000 and she was thus awarded £20,000 from the estate after taking into account the value of her rent-free occupation. On that basis, the woman was given six months to move out of the flat so that it could be returned to the estate.