Before: Senior Judge Lush ~ In the Matter of PMB, RS and DG – and – JG (Citation: [2014] EWCOP 42 (4 November 2014))

This article focuses on the dispute between siblings, as well as the resolution that was agreed, in respect of the appointment of Joint Deputies to manage their mother’s financial and property affairs.

The Official Judgement of this case can be found on the Bailii Database for England and Wales Court of Protection Decisions. 

Background:

PMB suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and she resided within a care home. PMB did not have capacity to administrate her financial and property affairs. PMB had been married twice and she had five children, her eldest son, JG her eldest daughter, RS her middle daughter, KH her younger son, MG and her youngest daughter, DG.

PMB held a Will which stated that DG was appointed as the sole executor and that PMB’s estate would be shared equally between her children.

Proceedings:

DG and RS filed an application to appoint them as Joint Deputies for PMB. Charles Lucas & Marshall Solicitors acted for DG and RS in connection to the application.

On 5 August 2014, JG filed an objection to the appointment of DG and RS. JG stated:

“In view of PMB’s current modest financial situation I do not believe the application made by DG and RS to be appointed PMB’s Deputies has been made with respect to her best interests but has been made maliciously… to exclude me from participation in PMB’s affairs… Recently, DG and RS have denied me access to and have undertaken the clearance of the contents and personal effects from PMB’s previous home… I do not believe that PMB would have either wished for or approved of these actions.

 I also do not consider DG an appropriate person to manage PMB’s financial affairs because of her past inability to manage her own personal finances which have resulted in her running up several thousand pounds of debt…

 … I feel it would be in PMB’s long term interests if the Court were to appoint an Independent Panel Deputy to administer her affairs”

Consequently, an Order was made on 9 September 2014 which invited the parties to file statements in respect of their arguments. Senior Judge Lush also listed the case for a Hearing on 4 November 2014.

Witness Statements: 

DG filed a Witness Statement and the salient points were:

  1. JG had been estranged from his siblings for many years;
  2. DG has looked after PMB’s financial affairs since the onset of her incapacity about two years ago;
  3. DG proposed to distribute PMB’s chattels in accordance with the terms of her Will;
  4. It would not be practical for JG to be appointed as Joint Deputy as he refused to disclose his address to them;
  5. It would not be cost effective for a Panel Deputy to act in this case.

Shortly thereafter, JG filed a Witness Statement in response. JG’s main arguments were:

  1. JG had visited PMB and was dissatisfied with the standard of care that DG had provided. JG had offered to move PMB into suitable accommodation but the rest of the family turned down his offer.
  2. JG was prepared to withdraw his objection if he were appointed as Joint Deputy alongside DG and RS however DG and RS were unwilling to proceed on that basis. 

Decision: 

On 4 November 2014, a Hearing before Senior Judge Lush took place. JG, DG and RS disclosed their arguments in relation to the appointment of Joint Deputies. Senior Judge Lush stated that JG had no “effective challenge” to DG and RS’ competence to act as Joint Deputies and therefore JG’s objection was unsupported.

Furthermore, Senior Judge Lush supported DG and RS’ appointment as Joint Deputies for the following reasons:

  1. Geographical Proximity: DG lives locally to PMB. RS visits PMB once a month. JG had very limited contact with PMB since he returned to England.
  2. Welfare: It is in PMB’s best interests to appoint DG and RS. PMB’s other children, KH in Australia and MG in Devon, both support the application.
  3. Existing Will: PMB’s Will demonstrated that she had confidence in DG to administrate her estate. Additionally, PMB also transferred one of her accounts to DG whilst she had capacity.

Senior Judge Lush concluded that he was satisfied that it was in PMB’s best interests to appoint DG and RS as her Joint Deputies. JG’s objections were dismissed.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to this blog please contact Julianne Brown (julianne.brown@clarionsolicitors.com or 0113 336 3320) or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 246 0622.

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