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Severing Joint Tenancy / Dementia
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# 1
dcon_blue
Old 07-07-2012, 4:40 AM
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Default Severing Joint Tenancy / Dementia

I've been reading some of the threads on here and I'm hoping that some of the very knowledgable posters that have answered other queries might be able to offer some advice please

My aunt has vascular dementia and is currently living in a care home. She never appointed a POA and now her daughter and I are applying to become joint Deputies acting on her behalf.

As a result we are beginning to look at my aunts affairs more closely and have unearthered some worrying facts.

Apologies in advance for this lengthy post ... here goes!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My aunt had two children (a son and daughter). The relationship between mother and children had always been good but the relationship between brother and sister has always been 'strained'. Anyway, for years it has been common knowledge that my aunt had made a Will and that her wishes upon her death were that her:
  • son would inherit the family home (in which he had always lived ... with her)
  • daughter who had a home (and mortgage) of her own would inherit her savings
Up until 2006 my aunt was the sole owner of the family home (no mortgage) but then according to the Land Registry, mother and son became Joint Tenants.

On or around March/April 2010 my aunt's mental health began to noticably deteriorate and she was subsequently diagonised with vascular dementia (not sure of the exact date but probably around summer 2011). It was about this time that a Care Package was drawn up and Carers began to visit her at home to assist with her personal hygene and prepare lunch while her son was at work.

Around September 2011 her son's physical health also began to deteriorate and she was admitted to a care home initally for a respite break. However, shortly after this he was diagnosed with cancer and her stay was soon to be considered permanent.

It was only after her son died (beginning of June 2012) that the executor of his Will confirmed his wishes to leave "his 50% of the house to charity".

A subsequent search of the Land Registry showed that mother and son became Tenants in Common in January 2012 (after her diagonsis with dementia and transfer to a care home and after his diagonsis with cancer and terminal prognosis).

Questions:
  • It transpires that around December last year her son tried to increase his proportion of ownership (not sure how or what the outcome was since neither my aunt's Social Worker or Care Home would at the time give details to the daughter) ... as her next of kin has she the right to request this information before deputyship is granted?
  • We believe a notice of severance was sent to the care home (could be the same as above) but given that my aunt has dimished mental capacity she wouldn't have been aware of their meaning and/or implication ... is her menatl capacity relevant?
  • We believe it was the same firm of solicitors who served a notice of severance to an 82 year old woman living in a care home on behalf of her terminally ill son were responsible for drawing up his Last Will and Testament ... Could this be seen as a "deliberate deprivation of assets" (wrt to assessment for Care Home fees) and if so what can be done as a result (and by whom)?
  • My aunt is the legal owner of the family grave and upon my cousin's death the executor of his will (a work colleague not a solicitor) visited the care home and obtained my aunt's signature on a form to open the grave (witnessed only by the care home manager) ... were the care home negligent?
  • Is it right that once a joint tenancy has been severed it can't be contested or reversed?
Well I think that's it for now ... but I'm sure other questions will arise as we dig deeper!



Many thanks in advance.
xx

Last edited by dcon_blue; 07-07-2012 at 4:48 AM. Reason: Correcting typos
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# 2
tbs624
Old 07-07-2012, 9:37 AM
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What is offered on these boards is suggestion, opinion etc - it is not advice
( see Forum Rules) and you should seek qualified/professional advice of your own to confirm what any of us post up.

You may find it helpful to read up on mental capacity here because care homes have to comply with a specific Code of Conduct

Ageuk and the Alzheimers Society will be able to offer you some guidance

You could phone the local Law Society and ask for contact details for a solicitor or legal exective who specialises in these sorts of issues - youi should be able to get an initial Fixed Fee appointment to go through your concerns.
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# 3
Mojisola
Old 07-07-2012, 9:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbs624 View Post
What is offered on these boards is suggestion, opinion etc - it is not advice
( see Forum Rules) and you should seek qualified/professional advice of your own to confirm what any of us post up.
I second this. I know what I think about the matters you have explained but I think you need professional advice from someone who has all the paperwork in front of them, not unqualified opinions.
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DVardysShadow
Old 07-07-2012, 11:10 AM
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On the Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy, I believe that this is a unilateral notice which cannot be challenged. If this is the case, I don't think that aunt's capabilities come into it.
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# 5
dcon_blue
Old 07-07-2012, 9:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbs624 View Post
What is offered on these boards is suggestion, opinion etc - it is not advice
( see Forum Rules) and you should seek qualified/professional advice of your own to confirm what any of us post up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojisola View Post
I second this. I know what I think about the matters you have explained but I think you need professional advice from someone who has all the paperwork in front of them, not unqualified opinions.
Thanks tbs and Mojisola for your comments ... upon reflection I did phrase my request badly (I blame writing my post in the middle the night when I couldn't sleep). My cousin and I are seeking advice from a solicitor (we spent a good two hours yesterday in our first meeting). I suppose what I am looking for over and above this professional advice is personal experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVardysShadow View Post
On the Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy, I believe that this is a unilateral notice which cannot be challenged. If this is the case, I don't think that aunt's capabilities come into it.
Yes, that's my understanding that it's unilateral and now irreversible but our solicitor mentioned that there is a period of 21 days after notice has been served in which 'objections' can be made to the Land Registry. Objections can't be because one party just doesn't want it but I'm not sure what a valid objection would be.
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