This is the story of Nigel Green’s girlfriend Jane and her Grandmother.
Nigel Green has brought his girlfriend, Sally to see Rita Sen. Sally is rather nervous and asks Rita if Nigel can stay with them while they discuss Sally’s situation. Rita confirms that she is quite happy for Nigel to be present if that is what Jane wants.
Sally explains to Rita that Rita saw her Grandmother, Margery some little while ago because the family was worried about the way in which Margery was being treated by her son, Jane’s Uncle, Phil. Rita recalled that she had visited Margery in her bungalow, but after that meeting Margery had contacted Rita and told her that everything had been resolved and no further action was needed.
Sally agreed that for a short period after Rita’s visit matters been much improved, but then Margery’s health had deteriorated and she had left her bungalow and gone into residential care. She had dementia and was now not able to look after her affairs. The family had learned that Phil had arranged for Margery to see another Solicitor while she was still capable and Margery had signed Lasting Powers of Attorney in Phil’s favour, appointing him as her Attorney for both Property and Financial Affairs and for Health and Welfare matters. The bungalow had been sold, but the Social Worker was now saying that Phil had used money from the sale to pay off his own mortgage. Apparently someone had involved a person that Sally thought was called “The Guardian” and she and other members of the family had received Court Papers that she did not understand. She was very worried, because she had ever been involved in anything like this before.
Rita gave Sally a few moments to compose herself and then asked whether she had brought the papers that she had received with her. Sally reached into her handbag and produced a brown envelope. She handed it to Rita who extracted the papers and read them carefully.
“Right,” said Rita, after she had finished reading. “The person that you thought was involved is actually called the Public Guardian and he has to protect people who are can’t look after themselves. One of the things that the Public Guardian does is to look into cases where it is alleged an Attorney is not doing their job properly. Quite often, as here, the Public Guardian is told that there might be something wrong by the Local Authority. In this case someone from the Public Guardian’s Office has looked into the way that your uncle is behaving, at least so far as they can. Certainly it does seem that he has a very strange idea of his power as an Attorney. Apparently he told the Public Guardian’s Office that he didn’t see anything wrong in his using some of the money from the sale of your grandmother’s bungalow to pay off his own mortgage because he was going to receive half of your grandmother’s money when she died anyway, so it was just an advance of this inheritance and saved some interest!”
“But I still don’t really see what this has got to do with me. I haven’t had any of Grandma’s money, said Sally”
“Nobody is suggesting that you have done anything wrong. The Court of Protection, which is the special court that deals with cases like this, has told the Public Guardian to tell other members of the family what is going on and give them an opportunity to get involved in the Court proceedings.”
“But, what are we going to do?”
“The Public Guardian is asking the Court to cancel the Powers of Attorney in your Uncle’s favour. Because your Grandmother is no longer able to manage her own affairs, it isn’t possible for her to sign new ones. If the Court cancels the existing ones it will need to appoint a Deputy to deal with her affairs. Because of this the Court is inviting other members of the family to be involved and have a say in what should happen.”
Rita and Sally discuss the matter further and Jane decides that she would like to talk things over with the rest of the family. She thinks they can reach an agreement as to the best way forward and she tells Rita that one she has had those discussions she will come back to see Rita again. Rita warns her she has strict time limit in which she must tell the Court whether she wants to be involved in the proceedings and Jane says she will return to Rita before that time has expired.