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A case in which a son abused his power of attorney to squander £230,000 of his frail mother’s money underlined the wisdom of employing an experienced lawyer, rather than a loved one to manage your finances if you lose the ability to do so yourself.
The son used the authority his mother had conferred on him to take control of her finances after she was stricken by dementia. He took the opportunity to sell her home, her biggest asset and pay the proceeds into his own bank account. By the time she died in a care home some years later, all the money had been spent. Although, by her will, the woman had bequeathed her estate equally to her two children, there was nothing left for her other son to inherit.
After the dishonest son admitted theft, he was jailed for three and a half years. The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against that punishment as misconceived. His plea that his mother had approved his expenditure during periods of lucidity was patently untrue and his sentence was impeccable.