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Legal & money

Why would my 65 year old Mum want to have a power of attorney

(37 Posts)
Askingquestions Sat 17-Oct-20 08:30:33

Unfortunately I have been estranged from my Mother for a number of years. She has just been in contact saying that she isn’t ill but is planning to give a power of attorney (both financial and health) to my brother. She hasn’t even retired and has only had a cursory conversation with my brother who seems to think that this is a reasonable planning ahead.

I am worried that she is about to make her entirely at my brother’s decisions. I don’t doubt his care, but I can’t get my head around why any physically and mentally capable person would effectively turn themselves into a dependent.

I would love to have your view on what could be motivating this before I speak with her. Any advice on a conversation would be welcome; I had planned on trying to be exploratory, asking how this has come about, if her other friends have done this, checking that she (I - running to learn) understand the immediate consequences.

Thank you in advance, this has really thrown me and despite the lack of contact I still care for her and desperately want to help her.

kittylester Sat 17-Oct-20 08:33:31

It's good for everyone to have both POA in place in plenty of time! They got become active until the person lacks capacity.

silverlining48 Sat 17-Oct-20 08:34:56

I think the ‘power’ only activated when the person is no longer able to give consent, any people do this, I am thinking of doing this myself and am only a few years older than your mother.

GrannyLaine Sat 17-Oct-20 08:39:02

I think it is very sensible forward planning. It's incredibly difficult to arrange if accident or illness strikes suddenly. But if there have been difficulties in your relationship, I can see why it would make you feel uncomfortable. Would you perhaps have preferred that she appointed you and your brother jointly?

Oopsminty Sat 17-Oct-20 08:40:36

Totally agree with kittylester

It's so important to have a POA

My father always refused to appoint one and we ended up in a total mess

I have advised all friends to get one sorted as the consequences of not having one are difficult to cope with

This is quite interesting reading

Georgesgran Sat 17-Oct-20 08:45:35

It’s a sensible move, especially if she is on her own now. As others say, it only applies if she becomes incapable in dealing with her own affairs. A friend’s Grandma was taken to a Care Home after discharge from hospital and despite having 2ACs, she had no POA and her finances are now being administered by her Solicitor. She wanted to pay for her son to have an operation but her Solicitor won’t allow it, saying her ‘estate’ is for her care and not for her to give away.
I think your Mum’s doing the right thing, but she needs both parts of the POA - medical and financial.

Marydoll Sat 17-Oct-20 08:50:07

I'm 65 and organised it last year, while I still was able to make decisions. I have both medical and financial.
A bit late, if you wait until you don't have the intellectual capacity to make decisions.

Askingquestions Sat 17-Oct-20 08:54:35

Ah, thank you. I had assumed that this would apply immediately, but if is ‘in the event’ then I completely agree that it is a practical approach, and as mentioned I would trust my brother.

Is it fair to assume that this is a standard phrase when the lawyer sets this up?

Really appreciated all of your advice (and such quick replies). Enjoy the weekend.

Oopsadaisy4 Sat 17-Oct-20 08:57:03

I can understand your thoughts, the POA for finance would allow your brother to sell your Mothers home if he chose to and your Mother wasn’t able, due to illness, stop him. However, it’s essential for someone to be appointed as it saves so many problems.
My SIL was able to put MILs house on the market to sell for care home fees, the bank though required proof that she was still in the care home, I’m not sure if that’s normal though.
But is your brother likely to do this? The issue is probably that you don’t trust him.
Are you estranged from the whole family? If so your Mother is being sensible in choosing her son, who I assume is still in contact with her.
In the end POA, isn’t the same as being the sole beneficiary in her will.

Marydoll Sat 17-Oct-20 08:59:52

My son's have joint POA for my husband and I. That way, no snap decisions can be made.

Yearsold Sat 17-Oct-20 09:06:02

Yes, as others have said it’s a good thing to do as forward planning, especially if your mother lives on her own. I am younger than her but I set up both kinds of POA last year. Once it is in place there is no need to worry about it until or unless it needs to be activated. Any actions using POA would have to be in your mother’s best interests. We had one for my mother and it was very useful.

It can be a very expensive and stressful process if someone loses capacity without POA already in place.

Grandmafrench Sat 17-Oct-20 09:09:09

From what you say, and from the lack of any illness, your still-working Mother could be thinking ahead and have some concerns as to what might happen should she suddenly become sufficiently incapacitated as to need an attorney (your brother?) to manage all her affairs when she no longer has the capacity. With COVID at present, it may be that she has had worries regarding her health - like any of us. Being prepared is no bad thing.

However, since you have been estranged, I do think that this could just be your Mum’s way of trying to re-establish contact, because you say she has only briefly discussed her wishes with your brother and I can see no real need to talk to you about it. So why would she be in touch.

Hopefully she will have investigated Powers of Attorney thoroughly and maybe sought some legal advice before making any decision, so that she fully understands what she is planning and what this means. For some explanations in non-legal jargon, the Age Uk website sets out helpfully the basic types, ramifications and some general advice before embarking on such a step. This may help you if you are a bit vague about such documents.

Her idea may be sound and practical and may give her peace of mind, but since you say you care for her and want to help and as long as you know she is not trying to cause problems between you and your brother, why not both discuss it with her (not necessarily at the same time!) and see what she has to say. I feel she may just be reaching out to you, but it’s for you to decide on the way forward for you.

dragonfly46 Sat 17-Oct-20 09:11:20

We have our POA’s in place and we are both still fit.

Froglady Sat 17-Oct-20 09:16:00

The Power of Attorney only comes into effect when the person is unable to make their own decisions. She may be in good health but what happens if she suddenly has a serious accident and can't make her own decisions? It's better to have plans in place just in case. I'm 67 and my sister and brother-in-law have power of attorney for both health and financial decisions for me when I can't make them myself. That was a very difficult discussion with them as I had to finally tell them that I had a 'Do Not Resuscitate' on my records!
It's better to be prepared for life's events than to be caught out. Your mother is acting very responsively in my opinion - she is making known what she wants to happen if and when she can't say that to people.

Froglady Sat 17-Oct-20 09:22:30

When I made my POA's over to my sister and brother-in-law, part of my reasoning as that I did not want my other sister, who I do not have contact with and do not want it, to have any control over my life. Without this she could have been regarded as my next-of-kin.
My mother gave power of attorney to me and my sister precisely for the same reasons, that my other sister wouldn't be able to jump in and start making decisions if my mum became unable. It was never activated as my mum became very ill very quickly and was dead within 4 weeks so it was never needed. But she knew what she wanted and she was in good health when she made that decision.

tanith Sat 17-Oct-20 09:28:42

I’m 72 and have just organised POA jointly for my 3 children over my affairs in case I should become incapacitated. I think your Mumhas been sensible putting hers in place.

Fran3669 Sat 17-Oct-20 09:29:43

Hi Askingquestions. Your Mother has been really sensible in sorting this out whilst she’s in good health as lots of people leave it until it’s too late and then end up being ‘looked after’ by the Court of Protection.

My husband and I are currently re-writing our wills and sorting out full LPAs (Health & Welfare and Property & Financial). We’re 50 and 51 respectively and both in excellent health but it means that everything is sorted and we have absolute peace of mind.

I’m an independent financial adviser, specialising in later life planning (age 50+) and I recommend all of my clients have both wills and POA, either written with the help of a solicitor or a legal specialist, for the exact same reasons that I have a trusted legal adviser sorting ours out.

I also work on the other side of things, with local authorities and various solicitors, where people haven’t had POA in place and end up falling under the auspices of the Court of Protection, and have seen how poorly most councils handle the finances of these individuals.

Would you sooner have decisions made by a family member or friend you trust, or by someone at the local council who doesn’t know you or your family?

Whilst the Care Act 2015 was meant to give guidelines to the local authorities, with regard to people falling under COP, the time and cost constraints mean that very few seek advice from a ‘suitably qualified and licenced’ IFA and can often end up disposing of assets in the wrong order and at the wrong time.

Attorneys appointed under POAs have certain obligations that they have to fulfil, especially with regard to disposal of assets, and I work with quite a few to ensure that everything is done correctly and in line with their legal duties.

Without guidance, attorneys and councils often dispose of assets that shouldn’t have been touched (certain investments shouldn’t be included automatically) but the staff in the local authorities rarely know, or understand, the rules and often attorneys are unaware of the absolute detail too.

OceanMama Sat 17-Oct-20 09:33:35

It's sensible to have all these affairs in order. A close family member of mine died without a will and everyone in my family responded to the work that created by making sure their wills were updated and appointing POA where necessary. My parents have given me POA but I may never be called on to use it.

Smileless2012 Sat 17-Oct-20 09:34:28

As others have said it's better to plan ahead and can only be invoked if your mum loses capacity AskingQuestions.

If there's no POA in place and someone loses their capacity to make decisions, every legal/financial and sometimes medical decision has to be taken to the family court for approval. A lengthy and expensive procedure.

Charleygirl5 Sat 17-Oct-20 09:40:34

I no longer have close family, only cousins who know zilch about me. I have chosen 2 friends so all is in place if anything happens to me.

I think it is an extremely sensible thing your mother has done. As others have said we do not know what is around the corner.

Harris27 Sat 17-Oct-20 09:47:01

She’s doing the right thing and probaky with your situation knows your brother may be the only one she has contact with. You say you care and would like to help does this mean you would welcome contact? If so I would do it. Ow for your questions to be answered.

bikergran Sat 17-Oct-20 09:47:52

I think some people may be worried that once someone has POA that it automatically allows the ones that have the power to suddenly take over their money etc.

This is what worries people, we have just sorted this with my dad, he was reluctant at first as he thought we were going to empty his bank accounts and steal his money .

So the Solicitor explained in detail to him and he then understood why we need to have this POA , It cost over £1,000 to sort with the solicitor.I believe you can so it on line for around £100 but because we wanted it all done by professionals so that my dad knew it was all above board we had to do it that way. There is no property involved and its the LPA and the health side as well.

There is no way I could afford that so will be looking at doing mine on line.Im 54 and getting ready to sort it whilst Im still compos mentis.

Luckygirl Sat 17-Oct-20 09:48:03

We organised ours when we were about 50. It does not become active till registered, but we chose to register it straight away.

How very glad I am that we did this! My recently deceased OH became completely unable to deal with anything at all and the PofA meant that I was able to organise and pay for the care he needed without any complications.

I imagine that for you it is more complicated because you are estranged from your mother and will not be involved at all. But just leave them be to get on with it - it is a very sensible ting to be doing.

Luckygirl Sat 17-Oct-20 09:50:19

By the way, I did ours online with no problem - I downloaded and printed the forms which come with detailed instructions. You have to be quite systematic as things need to be signed and counter-signed in a particular date order. Registration costs money, but there is a very generous discount scheme based on income - savings were ignored when I did it. WE got a reduction.

Froglady Sat 17-Oct-20 09:56:00


By the way, I did ours online with no problem - I downloaded and printed the forms which come with detailed instructions. You have to be quite systematic as things need to be signed and counter-signed in a particular date order. Registration costs money, but there is a very generous discount scheme based on income - savings were ignored when I did it. WE got a reduction.

Same with me. I downloaded all the forms and filled them in with my sister and brother-in-law. You have to pay a fee to register each of the 2 Powers of Attorney you take out but these fees can be reduced depending on if you are on any benefits. You don't need to pay a solicitor to do these forms for you. You could maybe get help from somewhere like Age UK for assistance with filling the forms out with you, or family members.