Wilhelmina van der Valk (49)

Hendryk van der Valk (52)



Wilhelmina and Hendryck are brother and sister. Hendryck is married and is living in his own house which he had mortgaged to finance a business which has failed in the recession. Wilhelmina is living in the family home, owned by her widowed mother. Her mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, has just been admitted to a nursing home. Wilhelmina had obtained Enduring Power of Attorney from her mother while she was legally capable, and proposes to sell the house. With the proceeds, she intends to purchase a two bedroom unit to live in herself and the remainder of the money to establish a trust to pay for the nursing home. The mother’s life expectancy is estimated at no more than five years. The house is very valuable and could fetch a million dollars.

Hendryck sees this as an attack on his heritage. Their mother, who was eccentric even before her illness, had stubbornly refused to make a new will after her husband died. Hendryck had always looked on “his expectations”, as he called them, as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He is broke and can’t afford to consult solicitors. A friend told him about mediation and the centre wrote to his sister.

Wilhelmina, who is fond of her brother, is quite willing to discuss the matter with him. She is relieved, in fact, that the discussion will take place in the presence of neutral third parties.



  • The sale of the house
  • The future of (a) The Mother (b) Wilhelmina (c) Hendryck
  • Alternative strategies.



Hendryck is a rather overbearing, blustering man, but is badly frightened by the situation and is trying to hold in his temper.

Wilhelmina is a dour restrained person but appearances are important to her and she wishes to be seen as doing the right thing.