Power of Attorney - my hands are tied!

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by Jannie, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. Jannie

    Jannie Registered User

    Jul 24, 2005
    10
    I am writing with a torrent of emotions - I guess the most worrying is that I may be judged. However, having read some of the other threads, I am daring to put fingers to keyboard, perhaps if only to share my experience with others.
    I moved abroad 4 years ago and in doing so had been advised that I should set up and Enduring Power of Attorney for my mother. I did this and it was decided that it should be set up with both the solicitor and my mums brother. (That way, I felt that there would be both a professional and family element).
    I returned to this country a couple of years later. My Mums condition had deteriorated and a month ago, it was finally decided that she would be better off in a home for her own safety. In normal circumstances, I would love to have been in a position to look after her. Yes, I feel full of guilt, but being a single parent with three lads, one of which is disabled, I just could not offer the quality of care. Also, we have not actually got our own house in this country and so are having to rent.
    I asked the solicitor if it would be possible to consider whether we might be able to rent Mums house. (This is where I am worried that I will be deemed as mercenary). Fortunately for my Mum, she has enough income generated to pay for her care. However, the solicitor has informed me that he intends to sell the house. He has also changed that locks and is making an itemised inventory of all the contents of the property! It is just so horrible. I feel as if everything that was my Mum is being taken away from me. I feel I will have no part of her to hold on to. Also, how can someone else go through my Mums things? I know she has got things wrapped up in tissue paper and hidden in socks and empty cereal packets, but what gives a stranger the right to unwrap them and sort them out? I don't care about the value of anything she may have, but I want some memories like the recipe for 'Granny's Fudge', to hold on to.
    To add to my worries, I have spoken to my Mums brother regarding the Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to himself, and he seems to be unaware of it!!
    In my Mum's Will, she has left the house in equal shares to my sons and myself. If it had to be sold to pay for her care, then so be it - that would be fine. But why does the solicitor want to sell it when the rent we would be more than happy to pay, would give her a greater return than if that money from the sale were to be put in a high interest account?
    Please don't think that I am being callous and devoid of feeling, it's just as if I have nothing left of my Mum to hold on to.
    I really appreciate your thoughts on this.
    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Dear Jannie, sorry can't comment on your situation, but thank you for sharing your fears with us. You are not alone. Feel sure you will get some useful advice and/or support. Take care, Connie
     
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    It sounds as if you're in a difficult situation. I can't see how you're being callous wanting to hold onto some memories of your Mum. Could you not speak with your Mum's brother some more? Have you tried speaking to the Citizen's Advice Bureau or the Alzheimer's helpline (0845 300 0336 - 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday)?
    Good luck,
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I may be judged.

    Not here

    set up and Enduring Power of Attorney for my mother. I did this and it was decided that it should be set up with both the solicitor and my mums brother. and I have spoken to my Mums brother regarding the Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to himself, and he seems to be unaware of it!!

    First thing to do is check whether the EPA was set up as originally decided.

    Did you receive a letter from the attorneys informing you that the EPA was to be registered? This has to be done if the EPA is registered, and as far as I know, the house can't be sold UNLESS the EPA is one that has been registered.

    Best to check this is the case with the Alzheimer's Society Help Line, or CAB. Perhaps call the Public Guardianship Office - details on http://www.guardianship.gov.uk/about/contactdetails.htm. They are the experts and they are amazingly helpful on their help line.

    I'd have thought that the key to this whole thing is whether the EPA was set up with her brother as co-attorney. If not, then why not?

    If so, then I would assume he would have to agree to the sale of the house. Again, do check this is the case with AS or CAB.

    In normal circumstances, I would love to have been in a position to look after her. Yes, I feel full of guilt

    Please don't. We're none of us gods. We just do what we are able.

    the solicitor has informed me that he intends to sell the house

    Have you asked him why this is the case, since her care costs are apparently covered without this needing to be done?

    Perhaps the care home requires a guaranteed lump sum to cover onward costs, and this is not covered by what is in place at present.

    I know she has got things wrapped up in tissue paper and hidden in socks and empty cereal packets, but what gives a stranger the right to unwrap them and sort them out

    a stranger wouldn't. They would just throw them out. I have heard of people putting wads of currency in cereal boxes........

    He has also changed that locks and is making an itemised inventory of all the contents of the property

    again, this comes back to whether her brother is a co-attorney.


    In a situation like this, release some of the steam of frustration by finding out the true facts.

    Seems to me things are not in order here. In my experience the less we permit solicitors to do, the better. However, there are some things, and protection of somebody with dementia is an important one, where one needs to ensure the legalities are done correctly. Not only that, but that they HAVE been done correctly

    Try to check that first.

    Sorry you are having to go through this!
     
  5. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    right on Brucie!

    Bruce, you are absolutely right. If the solicitor has registered this enduring power of attorney he will have had to confirm IN WRITING to the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) that he has told close relatives.

    For £20 the PGO will search their records to see if an EPA has been registered for your mother.If it has not, the solicitor is really in trouble having used the document as a power of attorney when your mother has lost capacity. You could make a complaint about this to the PGO and the Law Society : http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/redressscheme.law

    If he has registered it and failed to inform the family of his actions, this casts serious doubt over his ability to act as attorney since this is a basic first step.
    I would proceed as follows:
    1. Ask your uncle to contact the solicitor to ask why the family were not informed
    2. Let the PGO know that you believe there has been abuse of an EPA and that you are concerned that your mother's estate is being dismantled unnecessarily.

    If you wish to talk to the legal and welfare officer at the Alzheimer's Society her name is Sara Wilcox and her helpline number is 0207 306 0801.

    All the best, be strong!

    Sally
    x x x x
     
  6. zed

    zed Registered User

    Jul 25, 2005
    76
    London
    As I understand it, there are 2 types of EPA: One type is when all the attorneys have to agree when something has to be done. If this is your mother's type, then the solicitor cannot act without your uncle's consent. The other type is when one attorney can act without the other's consent. I would suggest that you get some legal advice yourself.

    EPA is a very emotive and difficult issue. When my sister and I first suggested it to my Mum, her sisters were convinced that as soon as we got it, we would sell the house, put Mum in a home, and keep the money for ourselves! I explained to them that EPA does not give us the power to "run off with mum's money" but they just wouldn't listen! Finally they all came round to the idea. It was very upsetting to think that my aunts would think me capable of that.
     
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Somebody holds the EPA, presumably the solicitor.

    Just ask to see it. You have that right.

    That will show who is attorney and whether agreement is needed.

    Why is life so unnecessarily complicated :confused:
     
  8. sequoia

    sequoia Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    19
    London
    I don't have any legal knowledge, just a personal opinion; I'm also having a disturbing time with (possible) abuse of an EPA.

    As has already been suggested, you're probably going to have to do more investigating as there might be reasons why the solicitor believes he has the right to change locks and sell houses. I hope they are not abusing their power and that there are sound reasons for what's happening. I've discovered the Public Guardianship Office can provide helpful information and so too the Alzheimer's Society helpline. As has already been said, you do have rights so, you're not powerless.

    I hope it's all resolved in the best possible way for all concerned and that there are misunderstandings, rathr than abuses going on. But, it must be so distressing for you right now.

    Best wishes
     
  9. Jannie

    Jannie Registered User

    Jul 24, 2005
    10
    Update - the plot thickens!

    Firstly - thank you all so much for responding as you did. It gave me the 'umph' to take the bull by the horns and ask for some direct answers from the solicitor.
    I am not put at ease by his responses.
    He states that he wishes to sell Mums house because 'as a financial investment the net proceeds of the sale are much easier to manage and do not require maintainance'.
    With regard to who exactly has EPA, he states that although Mum wished it to be her brother, 'given the geographical location, this would not be practical'.
    Why then do I have the letter he sent to my Mum stating that he had registered the EPA in joint names?
    This is something that I will have to chase up somehow.
    Finally, on trying to speak to my Uncle regarding this, I was informed by my Aunt
    'It's none of your business - what's it got to do with you?'
    I was mortified, particularly as we have always been so close and I have nursed my Aunt in the past, when no one else in the family could cope with her. How awful, how people react.
    Anyway, thank you all so much once again, you have given me the strength to keep going - I just feel sad that it is not my family who are supporting me (a guiding fiction of my own!), but people whom I have never met! Thanks for being there.
     
  10. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Jannie

    just my thoughts....

    'as a financial investment the net proceeds of the sale are much easier to manage and do not require maintainance'

    I would assume the point of the whole thing is not to make the attorney's life easier, but to the best for the person involved. I guess the solicitor will be able to make some extra money for themselves though, and after all that is what we are here for - to make their fortunes.

    he states that although Mum wished it to be her brother, 'given the geographical location, this would not be practical'

    That is not the solicitor's decision. It does of course make it easier for them to do things off their own bat and thus charge ahead [in all senses] regardless.

    If Mum wanted it to be her brother, so it should have been. I'd guess it is too late now.

    I'd chase it up with the Court of Protection.

    Forgive me for being cynical about the way this has been done.

    Best wishes
     
  11. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Jannie
    have you thought about following Sally's advice?
    Only my opinion, but I would follow it step by step.
    Norman
     
  12. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    619
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    #12 Michael E, Aug 28, 2005
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2005
    From what I have discovered recently I think all the points Sally makes are very very good - the only thing about notifying close relatives is that you have to notify 3 and they must be the closet relatives there are..... Unless you have 3 siblings why did you not get a notification? I think Sally makes excellent suggestions and there may well be abuse of power here. The EPA may well not be valid and as such close relative I think you have statutory rights - speak to the department I mention later... Very very nice and helpful people..

    I was looking into the Power of Attorney situation with regards to my wife - from various leads (given on this forum) I contacted certain solicitors and got 'advice' and quotes from them for preparing and executing the various documents and registration ... (£250 an hour appears to be the going rate!)

    I then accessed the following government web site which starts with the preamble - You do not need a solicitor to make an Enduring Power Attorneyey.:-

    Website: www.guardianship.gov.uk [external] ...
    www.lbwf.gov.uk/index/ community/life-events/attorney.htm - 15k - 26 Aug 2005 - Cached - Similar pages

    I also spoke to this government department on the telephone.....

    There is no need whatsoever to use a solicitor - the government department was shocked and surprised at the proposed fees. There is on-line help and a help pack to go with the forms. It all appears pretty straight forward - will post if this is not the case ... The government department has it all set up for individuals to create EPA and register it very simply...

    Solicitors are in it for the money - they have (probably) zero interest in the well being of our loved ones - a solicitor in order to stay in business must charge the best rate he can and generate work for themselves by appointing themselves... Fair enough - its their trade. Not perhaps the nicest trade in the world when it comes to the exploitation of people already in trouble.

    Anyone thinking about a Power of Attorney should access the government web site on the subject before paying for expensive legal advice which is almost certainly self interested and quite un-necessary!
     
  13. angela.robinson

    angela.robinson Registered User

    Dec 27, 2004
    520
    HI ALL WHEN I WENT FOR EPOA,IT WAS 3 YR AGO IT COST ABOUT £120 ,my husband was almost incapable then ,he agreed with all i was doing ,but was hardly able to sign ,,made quite a mess of it ,however the soliciter had 2 witness,s sign it ,the next thing ,i tried to get some information about his private pension,they would not even speak to me untill i sent the EPOA,after they received it ,they did not like the look of his signiture and wanted to speak to him personally on the phone ,well this was not possible ,he could not follow a conversation properly or use the phone ,so i was told to reg it first ,Then they lost the document ,sent it to the wrong address!!!! .i thought i could not get a new one as he was now classed as incapable , i finally got the document back as the person who received it posted it back and it was sent back through the sorting office in Ireland then i registered the document ,i did not have to pay ,due to finances.but was worried about letting it out of sight ,i asked the pension office if i could send a copy since they had put me to so much trouble ,they would only allow this if i had the copys legalized first ,there was no charge for this from the solicitor ,who gave me three copys for future use .ANGELA
     
  14. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Michael
    We used a financial advisor for our wills,epa,pre paid funeral etc,you are correct,you do not have to have a solicitor.
    Norman
     

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