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UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

Old Jan 12th 2014, 4:59 pm
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Default UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

My father is 82 years old and hasn't done well since my mother passed away 8 years ago. His health problems (mental confusion, unable to walk, incontinent, narcoleptic, diabetes, gout & high BP) mean that he has now moved into an intensive nursing home and is unable to do much for himself. Some days he is lucid and other days completely confused. He has not been formally diagnosed with dementia BTW. He has a local solicitor who handles all his day to day affairs (pays bills, responsible for selling his flat, talks to the care home etc.). The solicitor has been doing work for my dad for 20 years, dealing with my mother probate and family house sale in the past. She drew up his will and POA.

The problem is that the solicitor won't talk to me and doesn't reply to my emails or phone calls. The one time I did get hold of her she said I am not her client and that she wouldn't talk to me, which I found both rude and suspicious. All requests to see how his bank accounts are being handled, for instance, are met with that same answer. To me this is an intolerable situation as you hear horror stories about rogue solicitors, excessive charges or even embezzlement. Coupled with that he has stopped answering his phone so I have not idea what is going on!

I have two questions that I hope the board can help with.
1. What rights, if any, does next of kin have in this kind of situation?
2. How can I gain some oversight of this solicitor, do I need to retain one of my own in the UK who can talk to her?

Thanks for any and all thoughts.
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Old Jan 12th 2014, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

This is a very difficult situation and one that is really difficult to deal with remotely.

The problem is that, based on your description, of the situation the solicitor really doesn't have to talk to you because she was retained by your father, not by you. Since your father hasn't been diagnosed with dementia or been found by a court to be unable to handle his own affairs he is assumed to be competent to do whatever he likes.

That having been said, I find it surprising that the solicitor wouldn't even talk to you to reassure you that everything was OK even if she declined to go into details. You say that she has done work for your father for 20 years - how much do you know about her, have you ever met her and is this new behavior or are these the first attempts that you have made to contact her?

Lots of things could be happening - she could, indeed, be trying to take advantage of your father, she might just not want to bother with talking to you or (unfortunately) your father might have instructed her not to talk to you. There really is no way of knowing.

Assuming that you don't have any close relatives or friends in the UK who could help you look into this I can only think of two options:
  • call social services in the area where he lives and tell tem that you are concerned about his welfare
  • go over to the UK and find out for yourself

Calling social services is easy but there is no guarantee that they will do anything or that they will tell you what it was that they did or found out but it is probably still worth trying.

If I were in your situation I think that I would be planning a trip back to the UK to get to the bottom of things.
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Old Jan 12th 2014, 6:59 pm
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Default Re: UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

You could contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, and see what they advise about the situation. At least they should be able to say if the solicitor is acting normally for the situation, or what you could expect to be told.
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Old Jan 12th 2014, 7:24 pm
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Default Re: UK Solicitor has Power of Attorney and not talking to me

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
You could contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, and see what they advise about the situation. At least they should be able to say if the solicitor is acting normally for the situation, or what you could expect to be told.


I suspect that she is playing it by the book, but that's not particularly helpful.

Also, I'd speak to your dad on a lucid day about conducting an audit his affairs and perhaps having a 2nd person on his POA.

I'd suggest someone independent, for example an accountant (not bound by confidentiality) to be that 2nd person.
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