When to obtain POA?
A frequent scenario among families is a lack of willingness to obtain a Power Of Attorney (POA). This is understandable and something my family has not yet completed. However, there are some downsides to not acting and the best way to set out these problems is with an example.
Uncle was living alone following the death of his wife. For some reason, he kept having minor accidents in his car while in the local supermarket car park. One such accident left his rear light
broken and when we visited uncle, he did not recollect any accident or how the damage occurred.
Uncle’s brother, Jerry, came home and was upset because our Uncle had accused him of stealing some cash that had been left in a safe place in his house.
These issues continued and Jerry finally persuaded Uncle to visit the Doctor to see if everything was OK. Uncle went to the doctor who diagnosed him with Dementia. Immediately, Uncle had his driving licence taken away which he was very upset about as he was used to going to the local shops in his car.
Jerry had to visit Uncle more and more because he needed to get out to the shops regularly. More accusations about Jerry stealing money occurred. Jerry was so concerned about these that he
arranged an appointment with Uncles Solicitor to organise a Power of attorney and understand what was happening with Uncles money, including what bank accounts there were and how much money was in the accounts.
Jerry wanted to make sure all uncles money was safe and accounted for. The Solicitor told Jerry that since uncle had dementia then no power of attorney could be established because uncle did not have mental capacity and perhaps Jerry was trying to take advantage of Uncle’s money. Jerry was very upset about this accusation from the Solicitor and asked if Uncle could make an up to date Will to make sure his house and money was given to the family should anything happen to uncle.
The Solicitor said that without capacity uncle could not change his Will either. So, what Will was in place? The Will made 50 years ago, gave 50% of Uncles Estate to his Sister who died 30 years before and the remainder to his Wife who died 10 years ago. All of Uncle’s money, house and assets were left in the Will to people who were no longer alive. This meant that family siblings would need to be traced to receive the money. However, Uncle had no children and neither did his Sister.
You can see that this situation is now a big problem for Jerry. Those in control of his estate are now a Solicitor and the Government who will receive 40% tax on his estate, all of which consists of Uncle’s life savings and his home which he has lived in for 60 years.
What is the important point to take from this example?
Firstly, make sure there is an up to date Will and someone has POA before a person loses their mental capacity or is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. If you do not, then all control of a person’s estate can be lost and family members receive very little after Solicitors fees and Government taxes.
I hope this article has been useful for you and you can find more interesting articles on our web site www.chilworthcare.co.uk/news