Warring families assigned mediators to stop them fighting over power of attorney

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Adults can set up a lasting power of attorney in case they lose the capacity to make their own decisions about their life and finances. A “donor”, who sets up the agreement, can appoint a family member or professional to take over their decisions for them if they become ill with conditions such as dementia. High-profile cases have recently drawn attention to the potential for abuse within the scheme. Last month a solicitor specialising in elderly care was convicted of wilful neglect after the death of her 79-year-old mother.Emma-Jane Kurtz, 41, had left her mother Cecily “covered from head to toe in faeces” and had not changed her clothes for a decade, Thames Valley Police said.  Warring families are to be assigned mediators to stop to stop them fighting over power of attorney for loved ones. A pilot scheme being run by the Office of the Public Guardian will fund professional help for families embroiled in disputes over issues such as inheritances or control of finances.In some cases a vulnerable person who had chosen a relative such as a sibling, child or parent to make decisions on their behalf ends up in the control of the local authority or a professional because their family cannot get along. Speaking at a conference in London, Alan Eccles, chief executive of the office of the public guardian, said the programme was intended to “honour the wishes of the donor”. “If it’s not a case of out-and-out abuse, then we think to give validity to that wish of the donor, we will attempt to put things back together again, and get them to focus on the donor who wanted their loved ones to look after them, rather than to worry about the thing that they’ve fallen out about,” he told an audience the Frenkel Topping deputy day conference. The disagreements can be over who was assigned the power of attorney or over inheritance or decisions about care homes and finances, he told the Daily Telegraph. “Sometimes it can just be the fact that one sibling has been appointed the attorney and the other sibling hasn’t,” he said.  read more