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Personal Question - Power of Attorney

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blurk99

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.. well, that's about it... my mum has been through all the tests and has been diagnosed with alzheimers (i've not seen the final letter or spoken to the GP myself, but my dad tells me that's the upshot...) the recommendation suggests someone in the family (that's me as my dad is 75 and in poor health and may not last much longer himself) applies for "enduring power of attorney" before my mother's mental capacity becomes so impaired that she can no longer agree to it...

2 questions - and i'm just after 'broadly speaking' experiences here...

Has anyone any experience of being named in power of attorney an if so what effect does it have? does it generate a lot of work in the real world of day-to-day life?

Has anyone voluntarily entered into such an arrangement, and if so, does it become a real hassle when you just want to spend your own money? book yourself a holiday etc??? (i'm trying to work out if this is going to have a negative impact of mum and just lead to more confusion)

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help - any experiences, good or bad, will be gratefully received, and of course i fully understand that people may prefer to relate experiences via PM

cheers

Jim
 

marcros

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blurk99":3246ryd7 said:
.. well, that's about it... my mum has been through all the tests and has been diagnosed with alzheimers (i've not seen the final letter or spoken to the GP myself, but my dad tells me that's the upshot...) the recommendation suggests someone in the family (that's me as my dad is 75 and in poor health and may not last much longer himself) applies for "enduring power of attorney" before my mother's mental capacity becomes so impaired that she can no longer agree to it...

2 questions - and i'm just after 'broadly speaking' experiences here...

Has anyone any experience of being named in power of attorney an if so what effect does it have? does it generate a lot of work in the real world of day-to-day life?

Has anyone voluntarily entered into such an arrangement, and if so, does it become a real hassle when you just want to spend your own money? book yourself a holiday etc??? (i'm trying to work out if this is going to have a negative impact of mum and just lead to more confusion)

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help - any experiences, good or bad, will be gratefully received, and of course i fully understand that people may prefer to relate experiences via PM

cheers

Jim
My mother did it for my grand parents. If anything, it has made life a whole lot easier- dementia has set in with my grandmother, and my grandfather died pretty soon after it did. He was in his late 80's, and he hadn't been well for a while.

It made no difference at all to their lives when they were alive- they could spend what they wanted, when they wanted etc. It made banking easier, because my mother could speak to the bank in branch, or on the phone. Simple things can become a nightmare for the elderly- I remember estimated gas bills being a source of confusion. I am not sure whether that was as a result of power of attourney, or just naming her with the bank etc. I believe that it can kick in when you choose it to, so can lay dormant untl the time d=comes when your mother deteriorates.

My gran is now in a home, and not capable of making any decisions. She seems happy, so that is the important thing, but I imagine that it would have been a court job if my mother hadn't had sorted things in advance, with the Official Solicitor having to act for my gran. I am not a solicitor- this is just my experience and what I have understood to be correct. Don't take it as gospel!

The downside, and I am not suggesting for a second that you would, with power of attorney, you possibly could legally do things that were against the wishes of your parents.
 

paultnl

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+1 to Macros's comments. If you do not get it in place now, life becomes a nightmare trying to sort things if you don't have it. (currently dealing with two elderly relatives with issues)
 

monkeybiter

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When my Dad was deteriorating I reluctantly had to find out about this, and wished I had already sorted it, it was no longer viable. Rightly or wrongly I got my Dad to sign forms to add me as a signatory to his bank account so that I could take care of his day-to-day bills etc. I know that I was behaving in his best interests, but I would have preferred to have obtained power of attorney when it had been possible. I would advise that you do it. Then you have it when you need it, until then you and they can just forget about it.
 

Lons

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Another +1 to Macros comments.

My wife and I have power of atourney for her mother who is 85. We arranged it 2 yeaars ago at her request after my father in law died. He had advanced dementia which resulted in all sorts of problems and she was desperate that we would be able to help her if she became affected.

As paultnl suggested, the danger is that the person with the power could abuse it and there needs to be absolute trust between the parties involved.. Sounds obvious but sadly even family members can be corrupted if money is involved.

So far there is absolutely nothing different on a daily basis though she has all her marbles but I think she finds it easier to ask advice fromus on personal and financial matters. I thinkalso she is relieved really as she knows we would always act only in her best interests.

Bob
 

PMK54

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Just to add my twopence worth: Is it possible for you to share the power of attorney with somebody? If so it might avoid those family bust-ups which involve your Uncle Alfie accusing you of running off with that goldfish bowl he'd always been promised, and it's a fact that sibblings just love to fall out about who should get that cheap print of a Constable painting that you have both actually hated all your lives!
 

sometimewoodworker

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You can have limited or general powers of attorney. You don't need a legal person to set them up. I have given a family member a general power of attorney as I am not in the country. I clearly have total trust in that person as it is possible for them to do anything with my money or property. It has been in place for the last 22 years.

You may wish to make it a limited power of attorney then you can only act on the things specified in it. For example bank account gas co. etc. One important point get several originals signed at the same time (much cheaper than certified copies), my bank wanted to keep an original for their records.
 

Shedman

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My advice would be to do it as soon as possible. It only becomes effective when you register it with the Court of Protection at which point you will need to start to act for your Mum. At this point you will be doing a lot of the things anyway. It gives you some legal protection for this. You can have the important discussions in the cold light of day without the emotional attachment when life is tough.

You can share the PoA with others, and it can be limited in its range.

Please pm me if it helps. I have experience of exactly what you are dealing with.
 

hanser

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Jim

I have enduring power of attorney over my mum's affairs registered with the Court of Protection - she has dementia. Thus enabled I have sold her house, manage her bank account/investments, settle her nursing care fees etc, deal with her pension/tax etc. This stuff becomes far more problematic without the enduring power of attorney. If I recall the process to register the POA with the Court of Protection was reasonably straight forward if a little long winded and I had to chase it up a few times. The POA has to be registered with the Court of Protection before there's a failure of mental capacity. It is best to act whilst your mum has the mental capacity to agree to a POA.

Re the 2 questions - apart from a bit of form filling when getting the POA registered, there's no hassle and there's no impact on your own personal assets. Effectively you have an obligation to hold and manage your mum's assets, make decisions re her care and well being, medication and resuscitation in the event of a stroke etc. Probably goes without saying but all of this has to be in 'her best interest'. Your actions/decisions could be challenged by family but so long as you act reasonably you have nothing to worry about.

There's plenty of info on the web about POA's, Court of Protection, dementia and self help groups. If in doubt, a solicitor will advise at a cost. I initially used a solicitor to set up the POA shortly after my father's death but dealt with the Court of Protection registration myself some 5 years later. It may also be 'practical' to deal with 'wills' whilst your mum has mental capacity.
 

misterfish

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My mother has dementia and is now resident in a specialist care home - an EMI (Elderly Mentally Impaired) establishment where she receives excellent 24 hour care by caring staff.

She started showing signs of memory problems in the late 90's a couple of years after my dad died. She was always fastidious in her control of her finances keeping a strict account of her money, but she started making mistakes. She was assessed and strongly recommended to set up a Power of Attorney which she did naming both me and my wife as her attorneys. Her inexorable decline continued and within a year she couldn't cope and the power of attorney was registered with the Court of Protection. We then dealt with all the bills and she went to a day centre and had home help for shopping, cleaning and cooking. At the end of 2003 she was found wandering outside and confused a couple of times and it then was recommended that she go into full time residential care.

Since we did this the Enduring Power of Attorney system has changed and the new version is a Lasting Power of Attorney. I strongly advise reading as much as you can about the subject. We did this and did all the paperwork ourselves. After it became necessary to register the EPA we needed several authorised copies and used a local solicitor to do this.

Once we had completed the registration we then had to contact banks, utilities, tax office, pensions and local authority etc to be noted as the contact and bill payers and they all needed to see authorised copies of the registered power of attorney. We found some banks helpful and others inflexible.

After she moved into residential care we then had to sell the house as her assetts were way above the level at which her costs would be paid (currently about £23,000). The specialist care she currently has is not cheap - it costs about £45,000 a year. This may be something to think about considering the poor state of your dad's health.

Once we had sold the house we then had to consider the best way to preserve her assets to be able to provide for all she needs for as long as possible. We read of many people that had put the money in a savings account which drained away over a few years leaving them with no appreciable assets and having to change care home to a cheaper option. Bear in mind that changes in routine for dementia sufferers can be a major traumatic event.

At the time my Civil Service job was providing IT support to welfare officers and when discussing the situation with my colleagues was strongly recommended to speak to a specialist financial advisor that dealt with those in our situation. This turned out to be excellent advice. We invested some of the funds in growth bonds (that just about kept up with inflation) but also purchased a specialist care annuity. This annuity pays a sum of money each month direct to the care home and government tax rules allow this to be a payment with no tax liability. The annuity payout increases by 5% a year and along with my mum's pensions and attendance allowance covers all her fees and additional living expenses. As with any annuity there is a level of risk that if she had died early the money would have been lost, but to reduce this risk we chose a capital protection option.

Please ask or PM me if you want further advice or info.

Misterfish
 

RogerM

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Jim - there's very little I can add to the excellent advice already given. Remember that just because you have got a PoA it doesn't mean that it has to be used immediately. It only takes effect when registered with the court of Protection. It will be far more hassle doing this if your Mum hasn't voluntarily given you PoA, so best get on with it without delay. The main hassle is if you have to invest funds on her behalf - say the proceeds of sale of a property - not all investments are open to those acting as PoAs and the choice will be very limited. Don't go down the route of adding your name to her existing investments because if anything happens to you it will severely complicate winding up your affairs.
 

Digit

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Just to add my twopence worth: Is it possible for you to share the power of attorney with somebody?
Yes. They become 'key holders', anything signed, cheques etc require both parties to sign. A word of advise to anyone facing these problems, before the situation becomes too bad get the person to make a Will, sorting probate later can be a nightmare.

Roy.
 

woodbloke

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Enduring powers of Attorney no longer exist, it's called Legal Power of Attorney now and two sorts are recommended, one for property and one for health. They're both very similar but slightly different when you fill them out. I've just done ours for SWIMBO and myself and had them checked by the firm we were dealing with, but you don't need to register them until they're needed...they cost about £125 each, so only do it when needed. I keep ours in a fire-proof safe and have told the chiddlers (Unwinese :mrgreen: ) where they are and what they're to be used for in the event that something happens later on when real 'old age' finally sets in - Rob
 

Lons

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woodbloke":9khv8nhc said:
Enduring powers of Attorney no longer exist, it's called Legal Power of Attorney now and two sorts are recommended, one for property and one for health. They're both very similar but slightly different when you fill them out. I've just done ours for SWIMBO and myself and had them checked by the firm we were dealing with, but you don't need to register them until they're needed...they cost about £125 each, so only do it when needed. I keep ours in a fire-proof safe and have told the chiddlers (Unwinese :mrgreen: ) where they are and what they're to be used for in the event that something happens later on when real 'old age' finally sets in - Rob
I've just looked at our documents in respect of my mother in law and we did the whole lot together including registration as we were advised that the registration process itself takes time .In our case it was thethick end of 3 months before it was entered on to the register at the office of the public guardian. I note that the letters sent to us informing of receipt of the application stated that registration would take place 43 days from the date of the letter.
I can't remember the cost as we arranged it through a solicitor as part of other dealings following the death of my father in law.

Our arrangement is listed as Lasting Power of Attourney property and Financial Affairs

It does mean of course as I previously said that there has to be absolute trust as we could probably abuse the responsibility.

Bob
 

woodbloke

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Lons":motj8a0l said:
Our arrangement is listed as Lasting Power of Attourney property and Financial Affairs

Bob
You're right Bob, property and financial affairs, not wot I said :oops: I was nattering to someone from the firm we organised them with and I asked him the direct question about when to register them and his answer was... 'when you need to use them'
It took a while to get my head round the wording of the forms, but once I'd done that they were easy enough to sign and witness, though you do need to get them checked by a law firm to ensure that everything's tickety-boo...'i's crossed, 't's dotted :-" etc - Rob
 

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RogerM":1w5am0hy said:
Jim - there's very little I can add to the excellent advice already given. Remember that just because you have got a PoA it doesn't mean that it has to be used immediately. It only takes effect when registered with the court of Protection. It will be far more hassle doing this if your Mum hasn't voluntarily given you PoA, so best get on with it without delay. The main hassle is if you have to invest funds on her behalf - say the proceeds of sale of a property - not all investments are open to those acting as PoAs and the choice will be very limited. Don't go down the route of adding your name to her existing investments because if anything happens to you it will severely complicate winding up your affairs.
Good advice. We had problems with investments for my mother with some banks being very unhelpful. I got somewhat annoyed about this poor treatment and for the first and only time wrote to my MP about it. He passed my communication to the relevant treasury minister that wrote to state that the rules were in fact 'guidelines' and that financial institutions should take into account that those managing assets for somebody using an EPA will not necessarily have 'normal' ID available for the actual owner of the assets they are managing.

Misterfish
 

Alf

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woodbloke":1qbsn8s3 said:
It took a while to get my head round the wording of the forms, but once I'd done that they were easy enough to sign and witness, though you do need to get them checked by a law firm to ensure that everything's tickety-boo...'i's crossed, 't's dotted :-" etc - Rob
In my experience it was more a case of checking up after the solicitor and correcting all the errors he'd made. The forms themselves are amazingly straightforward, I thought - for a legal document. Probably that's what threw him... :lol:
 

blurk99

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thanks for all the advice and opinions - it's much appreciated, and i must say, i'm glad it's all positive - i was expecting at least one "...you wouldn't believe what my brother tried to do..." story. I'll get myself sorted asap - went down at the weekend and discussed a few things, going to arrange PoA for both parents before it's too late etc... getting social services involved to ensure they can stay in their own home for as long as possible

cheers

jim
 

Lons

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blurk99":33kmuce6 said:
thanks for all the advice and opinions - it's much appreciated, and i must say, i'm glad it's all positive - i was expecting at least one "...you wouldn't believe what my brother tried to do..." story. I'll get myself sorted asap - went down at the weekend and discussed a few things, going to arrange PoA for both parents before it's too late etc... getting social services involved to ensure they can stay in their own home for as long as possible

cheers

jim
Hi Jim

You won't regret it but the "what my brother did" is certainly exists and it is imperative that there is full trust. There is nothing like money to bring out the worst in people and that's sometimes family who you wouldn't have expected.

I've seen it in others and still can't believe it :shock: but it certainly won't stop us giving our kids POA when the time comes as we trust them completely.

POA is a responsibility not to be taken lightly but provided all parties have only the interests of their loved ones in mind it can be a satisfying way of helping them when they most need it.

Bob
 
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