Power of Attorney - any advice??

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Zelda, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. Zelda

    Zelda Registered User

    Aug 27, 2013
    31
    Hello,

    This is a long shot but I thought someone here might be able to help my family. My father passed away recently from dementia. I am an only child (32) and mum is 76. Mum is in good health but worryingly she currently have no power of attorney in place.

    Mum was happy to sign me as power of attorney. But, she has now gone down the solicitors, and they advised I am signed joint attorney with the solicitor. I can't agree to this as I live over 200 miles away and would be nightmare getting each and every legal document and cheque signed by us both. Mum has a couple of flats she rents out, some investments etc and so looking after these and her already slightly tricky from a distance and also around full time job. Before mum was comfortable with my being sole attorney and another family member as back up just in case.

    She is now considering many options - distant family members who have apparently agreed to be her attorney (I am seriously worried they will simply drop out when they realise how much work having never experienced this before and then mum will be really stuck), even having three people are joint attorneys (again, can't see how they would all agree on anything especially in a crisis).

    Does anyone have any advice on what I should do or how I can do my best to ensure what she at least gets something in place that is actually workable? At the moment she is attempting to keep any control she can - writing in all kinds of conditions to the document regarding what an attorney can do.

    I have tried to explain but mum switches off at this legal stuff. She has been a housewife all her life and this overwhelms and bores her. She just thinks I am difficult/ not suitable because I won't just agree to her plans regardless of implications down the line for her. That turns her off me being her attorney at all. I've tried pointing out she needs to be careful of making it too tight now as we simply don't know what the future holds and it could end up tying her into decisions she doesn't want latter on.

    I have no siblings, no dad around and no one else able to help guide mum in this important decision. Solicitor just wants mum to instruct her but she needs at least some guidance as to the implications of whatever she decides... The other family members all want to either a) keep out of what they see as trouble (most of them) b) may want to use this to leverage gifts from her for themselves. The gifts are already being leveraged but as mum is in good state of mind I can do little. She thinks this is all fine and she is just being kind responding to these requests. I think the relatives are prone to seeking a nice little earner for themselves where they can and are therefore unsuitable to be attorneys.

    We are not very close to extended family so I can't really expect much else unfortunately. When dad was ill and mum carer for 5 years they didn't even visit her.

    Above all else I have tried to keep a good relationship with my mother now dad isn't around to look out for her but it is harder than I could have possibly imagined to balance both this and doing the right thing. I know there is also only so much I can do to help mum but i want to do everything I can to ensure that things turn out ok for her.
     
  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,277
    Male
    North Manchester
    Some observations that may help.

    Joint, as opposed to joint and several, attorneys is a bad idea, if any attorney can't act the power dies.

    Having either joint and several attorneys or an attorney with a replacement attorney is a sensible approach.

    If a solicitor is appointed it is the person not the firm so choose a healthy young one.

    Writing special conditions into the document is fraught with difficulties as full implications may not be appreciated. Basically either the donor trusts the attorney(s) or they don't.
     
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    Hi there
    I am also an only child and so was my Mother. I have 2 children. We did very straight forward PoA in the end - I got fed up with the 'shall I ' 'shan't I ' and became very concerned that we might run out of time so I asked my Ma "who do you trust most in the world to make sure you will always be OK whatever decisions might have to be made" She told me straight away that it was me and so the problem was solved. We had no solicitor involved and no back up and maybe we were just lucky but it also meant that I could put my mum first without worrying about anyone else having to make decisions.

    I really hope you can sort it out, it does sound as though it is becoming rather complex and it might help just to help her to stand back and think about key questions. Another 'carrot' is that actually you can now do it online and it is much much cheaper and very straightforward x
     
  4. mrjelly

    mrjelly Registered User

    Jul 23, 2012
    315
    West Sussex
    #4 mrjelly, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
    It would help if you could persuade your Mum to put her wishes in the "preferences" section rather than "instructions" as this would reduce the risk of the LPA being rejected as unworkable while allowing you the flexibility you might need in future.

    It is probably also a good idea to ask the solicitor how much they might charge for acting as an attorney. Would it be a fixed annual fee, or based on the time they book to the activity? These people generally like to be well compensated.

    Once you are in control, you should be able to rationalise your Mum's investments and sell off the properties if their management is burdensome.
     
  5. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    Just do it, distant relatives and solicitors will all end up costing you money.
    It's very simple, go to the link below download the forms, sign and witness and put them in the post, job done. While your mother still has capacity she can change her mind and do a new one but while there is nothing in place technically no one can take over her affairs both health and financial if anything did happen. If the worse did happen and she became ill and a distant relative decided they didn't want to get involved then the whole LPA is void, solicitors see it as a nice little earner.
    That's my somewhat jaundiced view, as someone once said "a committee should always have an odd number of people on it and three is too many".
    K

    https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/overview
     
  6. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,289
    SW London
    Cynic hat on here, but I can't help thinking that if the solicitors have advised 'joint' rather than 'joint and several' they are thinking of their nice fat fees. Personally I would put my foot down very firmly.

    My siblings and I have been 'joint and several' for two family members - none of us lives close to any other, so joint would have been a pain. We've never had a problem and solicitors were never involved.
     

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