Does POA last indefinitely?

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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It can be hard to discuss matters with my autistic husband as he finds the current situation distressing. But it turns out that he does have some kind of Power of Attorney with his mum. I'm not sure how long ago it was made though I assume that regardless of his autism diagnosis (maybe this occurred after power of attorney was sorted out) he would be judged to have capacity to make decisions still.
I'm not sure yet if it's financial or health or both. I'm wondering if my husband has the right to insist on things like help with his mum washing herself to prevent infections etc. At the moment I'm not sure that my mother in law is changing clothes and washing herself.
I understand that these things are called Lasting Power of Attorney now and I don't know if they ever need reviewing too.
It's all so much happening at once!
 

cobden 28

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Dec 15, 2017
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Is there any sort of legal paperwork you can look at to see what kind of POA your husband has? Would your soicitor be able to help ?
 

Mumlikesflowers

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Aug 13, 2020
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Step 1 is to locate the Power of Attorney documents. If they were done, there should be docs at MIL's place and with your husband. However this also looks like a route to check with the Office of the Public Guardian if you're aren't getting anywhere https://www.gov.uk/find-someones-attorney-deputy-or-guardian

Being PoA Health and Welfare can give you some authority to advocate on such issues, but also being next of kin can. If you use the 'horse to water' idiom, then you can try to set up things that might help, trial and error different methods, but PoA isn't about your MIL being forced into being helped with her personal care. You can't hold her a person down and wash them, it has to be by consent. It's about how do we make it most possible for our person with dementia to say yes to the help they need.

I've been pondering quite a bit recently on the topic of people with a disability and have capacity and who are Power of Attorney for someone who now lacks capacity because I arguably come into that category myself. I tried to get someone to act as an advocate for me in my role as PoA - I have capacity and have clear ideas of my Mum's best interests but I do find battling for her constantly demanding and someone else speaking my lines sometimes would help my mental health - and it doesn't seem to be a thing, that you can have advocacy support for this, which could be seen as discriminatory. So maybe let's stay in touch about that aspect because myself and the professional advocate who would be happy to take on that role for me, if others could get their head round it, think this is something that should be a disability rights issue and we aren't done with it.
 

Mumlikesflowers

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Aug 13, 2020
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And on the PoA lasting indefinitely issue, yes, as long as your husband has the capacity and willingness to undertake the role.
 

canary

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Feb 25, 2014
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South coast
Just for completeness, Id like to point out that POA ceases on the death of the donor (and also on the death of the attorney, if there is only one or, if more than one if they have to act jointly) so the attorny(s) cannot use the POA to organise the finances of the donor after they have died
 

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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Thank you for replying.
I'm not sure where anything is at my mother in law's home, time to do some searching about. My autistic husband seems quite upset and clueless, one of his many repeated phrases is, 'let's talk about it later'. I'll try the website too, thank you for sharing the link.
You're quite right, everything requires consent and even if my mother in law moved to a nursing home the staff would still have to get her consent for washing etc. I can't encourage my husband to wash more than once a week.
My mother in law might yet be evicted from her sheltered housing as she has been leaving her keys in her front door and setting her microwave on fire. She says that she doesn't want to go to a nursing home yet.
My husband's support worker suggested contacting local advocates if we felt that things were overwhelming, which we are! I'm also autistic and ADHD, pursuing a diagnosis, and both my husband and I have mental health issues. It does sound like a disability rights issue. I'll see if I can find some national information about it and keep you posted.
 

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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Thank you, my husband and a friend of theirs at church are executors of my mother in law's will so we will have support in that eventuality. It's good to be reminded, I could do with a diagram to understand all these things. More internet research later!
 

Mumlikesflowers

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Aug 13, 2020
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The right to advocacy for you and your husband as people with disabilities on matters relating to you, is generally well understood. Getting advocacy support as a PoA with disability issues (ie when speaking on matters relating to your MIL), I don't think you will find any info.

Re your MIL, that sounds pretty standard stuff for someone in sheltered accommodation and not a cause for eviction. Obviously a cause for concern and support though.
 

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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Oooh why do people try and frighten you? I tend to take things at face value and I've been worried that they'll start eviction proceedings imminently. They keep telling me that they're not geared up for people with dementia and they've got safeguarding concerns.
Thanks again for replying.
 

Mumlikesflowers

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Aug 13, 2020
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Well I think they are trying to say 'things have moved on'. Making a PWD homeless through eviction no I can't see that but you are picking up the signals correctly I think. Could you ask the accommodation if they could contact social services to then contact you and work through what would be the next thing to try (maybe as you implied earlier, that your MIL has some visits from a carer, or maybe start with something social only, if she is the highly resistant type as my mother was when still in the community). Or just call the social services main number yourself and get the ball rolling. Or they usually have a duty email address too if you would find that easier to start things off. Your local Age UK might also be a source of info and advice.
 

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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The sheltered accommodation people tried some months ago to talk to my mother in law about social care and she finally consented after a fall a month or so ago. She's so used to looking after herself and I'm not sure that she realises that she's not taking her tablets, washing, eating etc. I guess that people might feel embarrassed at asking for and having help with such personal things.
Hopefully social care will be starting next week. I keep meaning to contact Age UK but it's hard for me to get organised!
 

sheepfield

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Feb 4, 2024
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Hello again, thank you for your reply and I'm back eventually. Social care didn't start until a few days ago so I've been busy trying to coax my mother in law to eat! It's been a scary time. Buy she seems somewhat better in herself for having social care, a change of clothes, a bit more food.
My husband has a week off work this week so might be encouraged to review the power of attorney paperwork whilst he has a little brain space.