Archive for July, 2011
Care of an elderly relative is something most of us will have to face up to in our lives – yet we are still reluctant to prepare for it.
Simon Mee, a solicitor with Wantage law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall, says families often learn the truth too late when they are confronted with expensive care home fees for a member of their family.
“They discover they have no legal access to their mother or father’s money or property and haven’t got the financial resources themselves to pay these very expensive fees,” she says. “This can create an enormously stressful situation for a family, at what is already an emotional time.”
The most effective action a family can take to look after a relative’s financial affairs is through a Lasting Power of Attorney. This involves a relative giving their consent to one or more people to make financial decisions on their behalf.
“Often this is something families are loathe to confront and discuss, says Simon Mee. “But the consequences of not planning for possible mental incapacity can be serious and can create an unnecessary administrative burden for a family.”
One Oxford woman who wished she had taken out power of attorney is Janice Simms, whose elderly mother, Beryl, suffered a stroke last year and has been unable to live independently ever since. Beryl is now happy, living in a care home in Woodstock, but for her daughter, Janice, the last year has been a succession of bureaucratic and expensive hurdles as she has attempted to sort out her mother’s affairs.
“We were paying weekly care home bills of £800 while at the same time trying to sort out power of attorney,” explained Janice. “For this, we needed a letter from her doctor explaining my mum was mentally capable of granting us power of attorney.
“When they assessed her they felt she was not capable of retaining information and therefore could not grant us power of attorney. This meant we had only one option – to go to the Court of Protection.
“This has taken seven months to sort out and there have been so many forms to fill in - it has been a bureaucratic nightmare. We also had to pay a £400 Court fee and an annual fee of £340 for the Court of Protection to continuously supervise they way we manage my mum’s affairs.
“Additionally, we have to take out an insurance bond of £150 each year to protect my mum’s assets in the event of me embezzling her money. Power of attorney would have been so much simpler.”
From her experience of having to sort out her mother’s affairs, Janice has already decided that she will organize her own power of attorney for her daughter in the near future.
“I wouldn’t want my daughter to have to go through what we have had to,” says Janice. “It is completely avoidable.”
For further information please contact Simon Mee on 01635 521212 or firstname.lastname@example.org