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Power Attorney - anyone had a solicitor as the attorney?

Zelda

Registered User
Aug 27, 2013
31
Hello,

My mum is showing early signs and we have been trying to sort things out for the future. My father passed away 2 years ago from dementia. I am an only child in my 30s and executor for his will. I loved caring for dad but the finance side, to me I was out of my depth and it just seemed like endless admin that got in the way. The last 5 years have been very difficult with no support.

I agreed to be mum's power of attorney but she has a very complex estate, lives in a large house and is a landlord. I work full time and am 200 miles away. I have asked that she sell off her flats so at least I don't have to be a landlord and things are simplier. I am worried I wont be able to fit all this around work and being so far away on top of arranging and managing her care needs in future. She doesn't want to sell anything which is far enough, it's her life, so we are looking at other options.We don't really have family that are young enough to do it.

It is also complicated as when my father was ill with dementia, mum treated him badly. Whilst I have tried to forgive this as I know how hard caring for someone with dementia is, it's difficult as she isn't sorry and lies to the family about what happened to cover herself. I'm not sure if this is some sort of mental illness or just the stress or what. But, it is difficult nonetheless.

Has anyone had a solicitor as the power of attorney? Or know of anyone who has? Does this work well? Obviously would rather it not be too expensive although she does have money from the rents to be able to afford fees so not too much of a problem. I am worried that a solicitor wont have the family link to mum and could perhaps just go for easy option for them not what she wants.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
19,902
North Manchester
If a solicitor is chosen as attorney note that it is the person not the firm that has the power, so choose a young solicitor and be sure to have a replacement attorney.

You could be an attorney and instruct professionals on an ad hoc basis to progress anything you felt was too complicated for you to handle .
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,896
London
If you are an attorney and your mother has lost capacity, there is nothing stopping you selling her flats, though you would have to act in her best financial interest. I agree with nitram that you could always delegate certain tasks. There are a lot of managing agents that can look after the flats for you just to name an example.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,612
Chester
I would suggest you would want to be Power of Attorney BUT you can pay someone to do all the admin. If a solicitor is power of attorney they will charge and you will have no control of their fees or them.

If you are Power of Attorney you can appoint someone to deal with it, and they will just need to send things to you for signature, you can arrange for them to be in funds for things so it won't need you to write every check.

Things like flat management can be dealt with by property management specialists, I work for a firm of accountants and we manage individuals and companies affairs, liaising with the property management agents and then the client has very little to do with it.

I suggest you speak to both local to your mum accountants and solicitors to see how they could help you, as they often overlap in these areas, and then you could appoint one of them to carry out your duties but if unhappy with things you could 'sack' them and move to another one. If they are Power of Attorney this can't be changed.

Edited to say Nitram has summed it up better than me.
 

Zelda

Registered User
Aug 27, 2013
31
Thank you- yes, we currently use managing agents as well as others but it is still a full time job to manage everything. I've seen for myself how busy mum is : / I'm already tied sorting out dad's affairs.

I'm not sure I could sell the flats - it wouldn't be in her best interests to do that as she would pay a lot of tax. Equally, it would be tricky to manage a sale at the point I stepped in to look after her care needs. When it happened to dad we were fully tied up looking after him to even think about making any changes to property.
 

Zelda

Registered User
Aug 27, 2013
31
Hmm... so i'm guessing solicitors if made power of attorney could in theory run up large fees, or not be any good. I thought though if they didn't act in best interests they would be accountable to the Office of Public Guardianship?
 
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jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,612
Chester
Hmm... so i'm guessing solicitors if made power of attorney could in theory run up large fees, or not be any good. I thought though if they didn't act in best interests they would be accountable to the Office of Public Guardianship?
They would be but a long drawn out process, you could appoint one to do all the work in the same was as if they were Attorney, but still retain the legal responsibility, fees may well be the same but you would have control and they would be answerable to you and you would know where it was all up to (they wouldn't legally have to keep you in the picture if they were attorney).

In my firm of accountants some of the partners are trustees of trusts, but never sole trustees, so there would be a reluctance from a reputable professional to take on sole responsibility. You might be able to appoint them a joint Attorney with you so they have power to sign legal documents but keep you informed.
 

Zelda

Registered User
Aug 27, 2013
31
Jugglingmum, thank you so so much. That sounds like it could work well. I would happily be join attorney. I had no idea it was possible for me to employ a solicitor to oversee mum's affairs whilst staying attorney but can understand there isn't any reason why not if that is best for mum? Would the cost possibly mean it wasn't?

It is great to hear from people in the know - sometimes I find with the solicitors it can be hard to tell how it works in practice.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,218
Be VERY aware of the cost, before you sign anything.
Remember a junior staff member today, may become senior partner in time, the bill would rise accordingly.


Bod