Wet Rot and Support Payments – What is a Deputy to do?
In this case the OPG had concerns about the way a deputy was dealing with his mother’s finances and made an application to remove him.
Their concerns fell into three broad categories:
- They did not feel the financial information provided was sufficient and that there were particular receipts missing from a renovation project;
- They felt the deputy had exceeded his authority in spending over £60,000 on the property with more to come; and
- The deputy who had stopped work as a quantity surveyor to care for his mother was paying himself a sum up to £1,500 per month for caring for his mother.
The mother’s assets consisted of a property which was worth £150,000, £10,000 in savings and £22,225 a year of income half from the state retirement pension and half from her NHS pension.
The deputy provided some more information before the hearing but was unable to provide all the receipts for the bills because the original builder left without completing the work and a new builder had to become involved.
The hearing seems to have been a reminder that there are at least two sides to every story. Senior Judge Lush said that he was impressed with the deputy and his sister, who had also been caring, and was generally satisfied with their explanations of what had happened. He accepted that the mother had made great sacrifices to purchase the property she lived in, including selling her car and walking to work for the duration. He is satisfied that the family did not have any financial motivation for keeping the mother’s property but rather because it was her pride and joy they wanted to honour her wishes.
Senior Judge Lush also accepted that the family had looked carefully at the options for care and that they felt care at home was better for their mother. It was the most cost effective option but also one which allowed her to maintain relationships with her GP, District Nurses and therapists and also what she wanted. Importantly, Senior Judge Lush considered the issue of support payments. He considered that CC had given up his career as a quantity surveyor in his mid forties and had made an enormous sacrifice. He did not feel that the payments made to him were unreasonable and said that essentially they were affordable and less expensive than alternative care regimes. Senior Judge Lush then looked at the way in which support payments, more commonly seen in personal injury cases but also applicable in other cases, were calculated. Ultimately, as long as the support payment is affordable, the Court will take the commercial cost of care as the ceiling and reduce it by 20% in arriving at the appropriate support payment. The Court would then expect the see the support payment indexed by ASHE 6115 which, as readers may know, is the index applicable to carers’ wages.
The deputy was authorised to spend a further £20,000 to be obtained by way of interest free loans from family members if necessary to deal with wet rot and dry rot and make the property presentable for the purposes of sale or letting. (By this time the mother was living with her son in Streatham and it looked unlikely that she would be able to return home to Bristol after all).
The deputy was ordered to keep all invoices received and other financial records and his application to be appointed as welfare deputy for his mother was dismissed as there was no apparent need for that appointment at present.
|If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Lynne Bradey or any member of the Wrigleys’ Court of Protection team on 0114 267 5588.You can also keep up to date by following Wrigleys Court of Protection team on Twitter hereThe information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors