Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney legal question:

I live in South Africa but my mother still lives in England. What I would like to know is if my mother gives Power of Attorney to my brother is there any possibility he could sell the house without my mothers consent. I say this bearing in mind that although my mother certainly has her wits about her but she most certainly has a very short memory….plus I don’t trust my brother or his wife who have done a first class ingratiating job on my mother.

Lasting Power of Attorney legal question answer:

Yes he can.

But he is legally bound to use the money for his benefit.
That is assuming it is a Lasting Power of Attorney, which can continue to be used if your father looses mental capacity.
They take nearly 3 months to set up, and their is absolutely no requirement for you to be advised under the rather poorly designed regulations which are in need of amendment (but won’t get it just yet).   Despite their flaws, everyone over 18 should ideally have Lasting Powers of Attorney as no one can other wise look after their welfare or finance, and joint bank accounts will be frozen if mental capacity is lost through illness accident or old age.  Just to make that clear, if a husband has a car accident and is in a coma, the bank is entitled to freeze all accounts in his name and in joint names. And they will – as soon as they find out.  Existing standing orders and direct debits will be honoured, but she will need a very expensive Court Order to get your housekeeping!  Court orders will be required for other decisions too, at least until someone has gone through the slow and expensive process of being appointed as the husbands Court of Protection Deputy.  And if the family don’t do it, the Local Council probably will – and charge him for the service.  But I digress.
If it is not a Lasting Power of Attorney, the other one is a general power of attorney which is immediately effective but can no longer be used if she loses mental capacity.
In both cases two people (attorneys) are required to sell a house – but that of course could be your brother and his wife, who would be under no duty whatever to keep you informed..
I’m afraid you are in a difficult situation.
The only thing I can suggest is that you put the idea to your mother that you and your brother should be joint attorneys with him taking care of day to day decisions. He would then need you to sign anything for the property – unless you mother signed it.
The system is not well designed I am afraid.
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