MIL lending money at 89 to BIL and family

MIL made a loan of £25,000 to BIL so he could buy a prestigious 4x4. This was 2 years ago. She was somewhat surprised that her bank sought reassurance that she wanted to do this. I believe this is being paid back at £250 monthly.

She owns a house worth £200,000 and savings of about £80,000. Her pension income is about £20,000 pa.

She informed us this week that she intends to make a loan of £20,000 to DNephew for a house deposit.

I have suggested to DH that this is almost a safeguarding issue. I believe that she has moderate cognitive impairment and we know she is very forgetful.

She firmly believes that her care will be undertaken by her son’s aged 68 and 65 and their families. I have pointed out to my husband that I am physically and emotionally unable to do this. I have understanding of what the future may bring. I do not believe that BIL has a clue.

She says if anything happens to her the money will be paid back out of the nephew’s share of her will. The will is structured in a way which means each grandchild will receive on current estimates £12,000.

Should anything be done about this?
I must add that she has 6 grandchildren but has always favoured BIL’s children.

Hi Maxmum.

This isn’t my area of expertise. My carer is in their 20’s and autism and related LD.

I believe this could be see as a deprivation of assets in the future if she needed support from paid carers / residential care Deprivation of Assets | Age UK

I think it would be advisable to talk with her about setting up Power of Attorney - read up on it as there are different types.

After doing this, you could request a mental capacity assessment and if she is deemed to not have capacity, the POA could be activated.


Banks are in an impossible position as they are expected to protect the vulnerable from undue pressures but also respect the rights of disabled people to make their own decisions so accept that they had to check for the protection of the vulnerable so long as once she assured them she did they processed the transaction properly.

I remember being checked at a building society when I took my partner with me as a bodyguard when I went to withdraw some cash as I wasn’t happy carrying it myself but they thought it was possible he was forcing me to give him money under duress. Once I assured them I’d brought him as a bodyguard they were happy to continue.

I also remember an apocryphal tale of a little old lady going to an airline information desk during some sort of disruption and asking how to charter a plane and initially being treated as if she’d lost her marbles. Once she’d got through to them she was serious she chartered her plane. If this happened nowadays she would be entitled to significant damages for harm to feelings.

My pet hate at the moment is the Nationwide Building Society who absolutely refuse to operate an existing, longstanding credit card account under a power of attorney. Clearly illegal and actionable but they seem to think physically disabled people shouldn’t be allowed to manage their own financial affairs in the way they would if they weren’t disabled. And yet they advertise how helpful they are. Other credit card providers don’t seem to have a problem. Of course we use the account differently now. Becoming disabled has an adverse effect on your income. This does not mean you are being ripped off it just means your budgeting has changed in response to changed circumstances.

So 2 years later. MIL is 90 nearly 91. Still living independently with shopping , cleaning and gardening being dealt with by using paid helpers. My husband has oversight of her finances as a third party on her account. She is well in herself though my husband describes her as muddled.

With the blessing of my children I decided not to visit anymore. My husband accepts this too.
After all, when I suggested she was not in a position to give money away as she pleased she told me she could do what she wanted. After nearly 50 years I realised so could I!

BIL hardly visited during Covid restrictions although designating himself as her bubble. My husband continued to visit throughout as he designated it as giving aid to the vulnerable.

Since restrictions have eased BIL has started to see her a little more. She announced she was going on quite a long journey to see the nephews new house. She told my husband that she presumed she would now be getting the loan back as she would need it for her care. For 2 years I have said that at the time she phrased giving the money as a gift whilst my husband has insisted it was a loan. I said without documentation that it was a loan it was a gift.

She returned depressed and somewhat distressed. There had been no mention of repayment. She said she intends to ring the nephew and ask him for repayment. Suddenly she has remembered she has 5 other grandchildren and it is not fair as she can’t do it for them all!

I have told my husband it is beginning to be a safeguarding issue and has elements of financial and elder abuse. He seems loath to do a POA as MIL insists it must be my husband and his brother. He has had little contact with his brother for many years.

Sorry for the length of this! I would welcome any comments or suggestions as to how to go forward with this.

I referred my husband to this site when due to a back problem it became obvious that MIL needed assistance Thank you so much. It helped him immensely.

Hi Maxmum, I don’t know if I can be of any help, but I am glad you feel able to discuss money matters here. I am going through daily mental hoops re my father suddenly giving away money and valuables, which could impact on amount left for his care but also my eventual inheritance. I am an only child and sole beneficiary, but it seems money always comes into it! It is a real moral dilema as well as a possible legal one. I hope you are able to get some legal advice regarding this, as some of it could be seen as deprevation of assets possibly. I think you are right to be concerned, especially about the safeguarding issue too. Hope you find a solution.