Belfast Telegraph

Painter admitted treating elderly father’s bank accounts ‘as his own’

The man had asked a judge to give retrospective approval of his decision to spend nearly £90,000 of his father’s money.

A painter based in Ireland who admitted treating his sick elderly father’s bank accounts “as his own” has been embroiled in a dispute over money in a specialist court in England.

He has persuaded a judge in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, to approve his spending of more than £70,000 of his father’s money.

Judge Joanna Vincent said the man’s father had Alzheimer’s disease and the man had been authorised to manage his father’s finances.

He had asked the judge to give retrospective approval to his decision to spend nearly £90,000 of his father’s money over a period of about seven years, after another family member raised concern.

She approved the spending of nearly £73,000, but refused to approve the spending of a further £15,000.

Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by Judge Vincent following a private Court of Protection hearing in Oxford.

She said the family involved could not be identified, but the man was a watercolourist who lived in Ireland.

Judge Vincent gave no indication where the man’s father, who is in his 90s, was living, but she said he had also been an artist and illustrator and lived in a care home.

The judge said the man’s mother had died.

She said the man had a “general authority to act on his father’s behalf”
because his father had approved a “power of attorney” more than a decade ago.

“He seemed to regard it almost as a badge of honour, or at least nothing that he should feel the slightest bit bad about, that he was not very interested in money, and was no good at managing it,” said the judge in her ruling.

“He is a watercolourist by trade, and not concerned with such things.”

She added: “(He) gave the impression that he too seemed to think that worrying about money was rather petty and pedestrian.

“(He) described his own attitude to his duties as ‘lackadaisical’, but he said he was concentrating on the situation on the ground.”

Judge Vincent said the man had been given “very significant financial assistance” by his parents throughout his life.

She added: “It would appear that he has continued to regard himself as entitled to that assistance as in line with their wishes since his mother died and his father lost capacity.

“He accepted that he had in effect treated his father’s bank accounts as his own, to be used for the benefit of himself and the wider family.”

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