Power of Attorney Advice

NorthBankDave

Registered User
May 10, 2017
15
Wolverhampton
Hi Everyone,

Could anyone offer me some advice on Power of Attorney please as I feel like I'm going round in circles!

My Mum was diagnosed with 'mixed dementia' in October 2016. When I discovered that there were was a Financial POA (who knew?!) I thought that it might be helpful for Mum. Over the previous 18 months she had lost her debit/credit cards a few times (she thought that they had been stolen or that she had lost them), she had forgotten her pin number and she no longer felt confident going into the bank or using a cash point. It also became apparent that she had forgotten about a couple of dormant ISA accounts. We were able to discuss it with her mental health nurse & she agreed that she would like me to handle her bank accounts for her.

I approached Age UK, who referred me to Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice referred to a place called 'Find A Solicitor' who directed me to the nearest solicitor who was 40 miles away! I don't mind driving 40 miles but I was reluctant to make my poor Mum travel all that way. I went to Social Services at the Local Authority where I work & they recommended I approach Age UK.

Having gone full circle I obtained a pack from gov.uk and completed it myself. I spoke to Mum's GP last Friday about signing the forms (that's what the mental health nurse suggested I do) & her GP recommended that I contact a solicitor. I've spoken to a local solicitor today and they have suggested that because Mum has already been diagnosed with dementia she has legally lost the capacity to organize a Power of Attorney and so we'd have to apply to the Court of Protection with me as the deputy.

Is this right? It seems strange that to have to apply to the Court of Protection when Mum can still articulate what she wants but I'm wondering if her dementia diagnosis automatically means that legally she has lost the capacity to make the decision.

To add a couple of other ideas to the mix, the local carers association have suggested I might be better to go for 'Third Party Mandate' rather than Power of Attorney & her bank just want me to add my name to her account - which might be a solution but it seems wrong as it's Mum's account not mine. I just want to do what's right for her.

Does anyone have any advice please?
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,834
London
Gosh, I can't believe the amount of wrong advice you've been given. Firstly, as you discovered yourself, a solicitor is not necessary to complete an LPA. You can of course use one but there is no legal obligation. All you have to do is fill in the form online or on paper.

Secondly, no, a dementia diagnosis does not in itself suggest that someone has lost mental capacity. I don't understand how a solicitor can even suggest that. In fact, capacity is a fluctuating thing, and all your Mum has to do is understand "in the moment" what this LPA does and what she is signing. So forget about the solicitor, find a certificate provider who's known her for at least 2 years, preferably an old friend who is happy to sign that your Mum understands what she has been told, then get everyone to sign in the right order and send the thing off to be registered.

And while you're there, do the same thing with the health LPA, as you never know when that might come in handy.
 

Slugsta

Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
2,762
South coast of England
Hi and welcome to TP :)

I agree with Beate that you have been given a, completely unnecessary, runaround :mad:

A dementia diagnosis does not mean that someone automatically loses the capacity for anything/everything. Capacity is something that has to be considered on case-by-case and person-by-person basis. Even then, it can change from one day to the next!

As has been said, all that is needed is that your mum understands what she is doing at the moment she signs the forms. As long as you can get someone to sign that they agree with this, that is sufficient. We got my Mum's GP to do the first one (finances) and then a friend di the health + welfare certificate. The GP charged us £30, the friend was free.

Resistering the PoA with the Office of the Public Guardian will cost (I think it is in the region of £120) unless your mother is in receipt of income-related benefits or has a low income.

It is all very straightforward and something that most people can do on their own, there is seldom a need to pay a solicitor for their services!
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,499
Chester
As the others have said, I certainly would recommend the Health and Welfare one as well (proved useful when my mum had pneumonia), but you can normally manage without it.

Both myself and my brother have LPA, but can act jointly and severally - ie either one of us can act. I deal with it all but if anything happened to me my brother can step in.

With hindsight I wish that both of us had nominated a replacement attorney as well, so that there is back up, in our cases our OH's would have been my choice. In reality belt and braces so if something happens to me and brother, our OH's can step in without needing to go to court of protection (we don't have adult children).
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,301
South coast
Just thought Id mention that there has been a reduction in price to register POA (make sure you do this straight away) - its now £82 per POA (in England), with reductions if eligible. Yes, I would agree that it would be a good idea to get health and welfare POA done at the same time.
 

Slugsta

Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
2,762
South coast of England
Just thought Id mention that there has been a reduction in price to register POA (make sure you do this straight away) - its now £82 per POA (in England), with reductions if eligible. Yes, I would agree that it would be a good idea to get health and welfare POA done at the same time.
That's useful to know, thank you :)
 

nmintueo

Registered User
Jun 28, 2011
847
UK
I've spoken to a local solicitor today and they have suggested that because Mum has already been diagnosed with dementia she has legally lost the capacity to organize a Power of Attorney and so we'd have to apply to the Court of Protection with me as the deputy.

Is this right?
No, it is wrong. Diagnosis does not equate to loss of legal capacity. Capacity is presumed until someone determines otherwise.

Your mother "agreed that she would like me to handle her bank accounts for her", and it sounds from what you say that the mental health nurse did _not_ say, 'I don't think she has capacity to do that'. It sounds from your description that she is perfectly capable of making that request; she knows who you are, she understands money but forgets cards, pins and dormant accounts, that's all.

I suggest download the required forms, fill them out for her, get her to sign, and send the forms off. You don't have to have a solicitor and you don't have to drive her 40 miles to see one.

Are there other family members, and are they in agreement with you?
 

Pear trees

Registered User
Jan 25, 2015
441
Choose a day when your mum is cheerful and alert and explain to her simply what she is signing. Ask her best friend or neighbour who knows her well to witness her signature and reward mum with afternoon tea, it worked for me.
I asked my mum's lunch club organiser to be certificate provider, it does not need to be GP or solicitor, but cannot be witness to signature.
 

NorthBankDave

Registered User
May 10, 2017
15
Wolverhampton
Thank you so much for all your help & advice everyone: it has been absolutely invaluable & you are all stars :)

I have completed all the forms, asked someone who has known Mum for 40 years to be the certificate provider and I have asked her niece, who she has always been close to, if she would be OK to be a person to notify (she has said yes), so all being well we will be able to complete the POA this weekend (hopefully!).

I spoke to my Mum a couple of days ago about this & I gently asked her what she thought a Power of Attorney was. 'It means you manage my bank accounts for me' she said. It seemed strange/wrong for a solicitor to then state that Mum lacked the capacity to make that decision based on her dementia diagnosis alone. She understands money but forgets her pin and accounts she doesn't use and misplaces her cards sometimes and lacks confidence in dealing with her bank.

Thank you so much again for all your advice - I really appreciate it! :)