When is POA appropriate?(13 Posts)
Hello, I'm hoping for some advice.
Our situation is that my PIL live in Scotland, close to my DHs sister and her family. We live in France. My PIL are currently visiting us and we are both shocked at how much my MIL has aged. She's 78, and until recently was a very 'with-it' person, who made all the decisions, and kept their lives running smoothly. She had a spell of illness, and it has really knocked her for six. She had always prided herself on being 'only as old as you feel' and clearly expected to go storming on into her 80's in good health as her own mother did. This hasn't happened, and she seems to have retreated from life - instead of playing with her GC she sits well back, watching from the sidelines, hesitating in doorways, looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights most of the time.
She is now hesitant, can't focus on what is being said to her, finding it very hard to retain info when things are explained to her. My FIL is not the most rational of people: he has always joked that he's already lost his marbles so he's not worried about getting older. MIL has always held the pursestings (FIL doesn't even own a wallet) and organised all financial and administrative aspects of their lives.
They are currently trying to sell their large house and buy / move into somewhere smaller and more adapted for their older age. MIL is finding it a real challenge despite having sold and bought several times in the past. But I think that with some help from her daughter / my SIL they will manage it.
I'm wondering about the longer term though. If she becomes unable to make decisions for them both, and there is no way my FIL will step up to do it, should the family be looking at setting up POA for either my SIL / DH or both of them? As a family they really don't like talking about these things. My parents - who are a good deal younger - have already started investigating POA for my sister and I well before they think it will ever be needed. I'm worried that my DHs parents will leave it too late.
Any advice? As I said they are in Scotland and we are in France, so I don't know how that would work if DH was to be named?
Only know about England, not Scotland but I'd say do it asap. If your in-laws get to the point where they are considered not ablevto givevinfirmed consent, then it becomes much much harder to do. You don't have to invoke it until it is really needed though. My sister and aunt and I have joint poa for my mum but it isn't invoked as she is still doing fine. We can invoke it if she gets dementia or can't manage for any other reason
Also, hesitating in doorways can be an early symptom of things like Parkinsons disease or supranuclear palsy.
Get it sorted - the earlier you do it the more you can present it as something sensible that you might need at some vague time in the future, rather than something you need right now because they are both incapable.
We have POA in place for inlaws (recent) and an EPOA for my mum (set up about 15 years ago when she was widowed so old-style); haven't had to invoke them yet but they are ready and waiting.
NB: a POA is something you set up in advance and sits waiting in the background until it's needed: setting one up does not mean you take over powers immediately.
Do it asap, trying to get a POA when it is needed is a nightmare! Best to have it in place before hand.
I agree that they should set it up ASAP, well in advance of it being actually needed. Once you get to a certain age a stroke could strike out of the blue at any time and you want the mechanics sorted out ready and waiting so that you can step in and take over seamlessly.
It's good that you've got it sorted out already with your own DPs, because that gives an example that normalises it when your DH talks about it to his parents. That's how we presented it to my DPs, I explained that my perfectly healthy DPILs had set up POA for us several years previously as a sensible precaution and I think it really helped change my DF's perspective. A few years on we haven't had to use it, but it's a huge weight off my mind because as I said before, strokes can come out of the blue.
I agree ASAP, just manage to sort one for my mum, a week or two later would have been too late.
I'm the OP, had an accidental name change.
That's a fairly resounding response. i'm going to talk to DH about him broaching it with his folks. His sister is visiting next week (after the PIL have gone home) so it's a chance to talk to her about it, as in practice she's the one who will have to push it forward.
How do we explain it to them in practical terms? As in, once it's set up when and how is it triggered? What actual decisions does it hand over to the other person? And what does it cost (they are very Scottish, this will be an issue!) !
You will need to to discuss with PILS as it is them that will be granting powers. If they dont agree to it (and this is more common than you would think) then it cant go ahead. Reiterating what others have said, it needs to be done in advance. if your mil is not that well, the solicitor dealing with it will need a doctors/consultants letter confirming that she has capacity to grant these powers (this will come at a cost usually). If it is too late then unfortunately a guardianship will need to be arranged (and this is costly). POA consist of two parts, and Attorneys do not need to be the same for each part, nor do both parts need to granted (i.e. poa arranged for financial side of things only). One deals with decisions surrounding welfare (e.g. medical needs etc) and other is decisions surrounding finance (e.g. operating bank a/c etc). Ime solicitors usually charge between 300-400 plus outlays for one persons POA (for both parts). There is usually a discount if a couple want to have both PoAs done together. Once it is set up the granter can trigger it themselves, or if they are no longer able to due to ill health, the Attorney can present a copy of the PoA to be triggered (such as to the Bank). here is the link to the office of the public guardian scotland where they have the answers to all your questions.
Do it, do it now. On another thread I am banging on about this, if there is one thing I wish I'd got for my mother, it's PoA not just in finance (we did get that one) but Health and Welfare. GPs and other professionals are not keen to advise this, giving 'civilians' power does not sit well with them.
Funnily enough though, once your relative has lost mental capacity (but not awareness, note) it will often be the first thing they mention. As in, don't argue with us, we are in charge now. They can and will turn you over.
You don't wait until you really need it to get it. That would be like waiting for your retirement age before thinking about getting a pension, or sorting out your travel insurance when you wallet has been nicked while on holiday. Too late then.
Without PoA, you cannot even look at your relative's medical notes. True. And any trying to find out about stuff relating to them regarding cock up or cover up by the Care Quality Commission, NHS Trust or Social Services, well, they can cock a snoop at you and say you don't have PoA, na-na-na-na-naaa-nah!
Ask the care home to carry out any trivial thing to make your relative's happiness better, and they don't want to do it, and it's 'Do you have PoA?' As in, if not, bugger off.
Not saying your relative will lose mental capacity any more than you'll lose your purse or wallet while on holiday. Just sayin', should it happen and you don't have it, this is what you are up against.
We've made some good progress - I brought it up with my MIL and she had already been making some tentative enquiries about it, it's something she does want to do which is great. I've managed to speak to my SIL (her daughter) and SILis going to encourage her to get it organised. I will be sending them the links provided above, under the guise of 'this is the info that my own parents have found, hope it is helpful'.
One question I have though : do couples give POA to each other or straight to their children? I thinking ahead to what happens if MIL becomes incapacitated and the POA is invoked (naming my SIL and DH), does that mean that they make decisions on MIL's behalf rather than FIL? FIL is not a rational person, I would not want him making any decisions on my behalf!
It's much easier if you can pursuade them to give the POA to a younger generation. Poor health in one partner is a massive strain on the other, and can result in a lack of the perspective needed to make good long term decisions. What someone may want to happen can be very different to what is likely to happen and inevitably there is a lot of denial.
All decisions need to be taken in someone's best interest, and taking on board their views, so it may well be safer to pass it down a generation.
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