Alice is in her 90s, blind and becoming deaf, with increasing dementia. She lives in a retirement home in the UK with some carer support. She sold her house to fund this, and has plenty of money.
Alice's children are Bob, Carol, Dorothy and Eve. For obscure reasons, Bob and Carol don't talk to Alice, Dorothy or Eve. Eve has sole power of attorney over Alice's financial and medical affairs, and is sole executor of Alice's will. When Alice dies, it is not inconceivable that Bob or Carol might allege that Eve mismanaged Alice's affairs and thus depleted Alice's estate, some of which is left to Bob and Carol.
Alice becomes very unwell because of an infection. In the short term, she needs intensive nursing to recover, including help with feeding and turning in bed. Because of her dementia and (it is hoped temporary) delirium, Alice will only allow Eve to help her. Eve makes multiple trips by car each day to Alice. Eve is self-employed with a low-paid job for multiple customers, and loses money (and possibly a regular customer) every time she has to visit Alice.
Bearing in mind that Eve's management of Alice's finances might be examined in court, in general, how does the law determine whether Eve's expenditure of Alice's money is reasonable?
In particular, is it possible to say what reasonable expenses Eve might claim from Alice?
- Mileage travelling to visit Alice?
- Lost income from the hours Eve is unable to work while tending Alice?
- Lost goodwill for Eve's business as customers desert her?
- Cost in Eve's time to consult a lawyer for advice on these matters?
- Cost of consulting the lawyer?
If any of these expenses are reasonable, what documentation should Eve keep to support her argument in a possible future legal dispute?
Apart from a possible family dispute, are there any other limits (beyond the requirement of an attorney always to act in the interest of the grantor) that Eve should be aware of?
Apologies if this seems very specific and detailed, but it is a general area that is going to become more important in the UK as we become better at keeping old people alive, and more lay people have to act with power of attorney. I would like to understand how the law approaches these fundamentally difficult family problems.