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Power of Attorney in hands of a solicitor query, bit complicated, maybe its just me though

(22 Posts)
katiekitty Thu 21-Jun-07 10:13:18

Hello everyone

I'll try to give the condensed version to spare as much confusion as possible...anyway, here it is: my mother is terminally ill and in a nursing home, her house (currently uninsured), needs to be sold as soon as possible to pay for the fees of the nursing she is very ill, she needs someone to sell the house for her and so will be looking to arrange power of attorney soon. For long and complicated reasons, neither myself or my sister can take on POA - so it seems our mother will have a solicitor take on the responsibility. Does anyone know how much this is likely to cost as I would like to give a rough estimate to the nursing home so they can pass on the information to her as she thinks it may be exorbitant.

Has anyone been through this sort of thing before? Any experiences or words of wisdom very much appreciated, it's all new to me and is a steep learning curve. Each day brings a new stress.

Thank you in advance xxx kk

maisym Thu 21-Jun-07 14:03:31

KKitty - what a tough time you and your sister must be having xxx

Don't know about the costs but hopefully someone will be able to help.

mummypoppins Thu 21-Jun-07 14:16:54

Hi Katie Kitty

I am a solicitor who would take on this type of role.

The cost is usually an hourly rate which will vary depending on where you live in the Country.......I am a partner and head of a team of 8 and I charge 175 per hour but you would not need to pay as much as this somebody more junior would be able to deal with it for you.

Its difficult to say how much it would cost as I dont know what is invlved........for instance would you wnat the solicitor to arrange to clear all the items form the house and deal with all her utility bills and other financial paperwork. If so the costs will be thousands rather thans hundreds.

Let me know if it would be useful to speak on the of course for another mn er.

maisym Fri 22-Jun-07 09:21:24

interesting mpoppins

can solicitors sell a house as well and how does this work?

KKitty - I'm also having issues on nursing home costs!!

katiekitty Fri 22-Jun-07 10:51:44

Hello mummypoppins and maisym, thank you for your replies, sorry for my late response, I've been offline.

At the moment, I'm thinking that the solicitor appointed would be responsible for all financial transactions, so: utility bills, house sale fees, nursing home fees - everything. There aren't many items in the house (my mother was a frugal person, not big on luxe items - she only recently got central heating!), so either these items could be cleared and put into storage if the house was sold, or as she has recently made a will, she may ask that they be distributed to whoever.

I fear it may be expensive but then, I am unable to take on the responsibility (looooong story) and my sister lives abroad with a large family (four little ones and another on the way!). We are our mother's only direct next of kin, the other being her sister (who also lives abroad) and there is her niece an nephew, with whom she has had virtually no contact throughout their lives.

Apart from the family, my mother has no friends (it's a sad story), apart from someone she met whilst in hospital (with cancer), so unless she gives them attorney rights, there seems to be no alternative but to appoint an independant person - the solicitor.

Thank you for the offer of a phonecall, I will certainly bear this in mind and will let you know. God bless mumsnet! xx

I live in the midlands, so hopefully it won't be London rates for the solicitor that gets hired.

maisym - sorry to hear you are also going through nursing home issues, I've read a couple of your threads and it sounds like you're getting a lot of stress too. I hope everything's ok. Have you found that it's so hard to get any information from people? I think a solicitor can indeed sell a home if they are granted attorney rights, are you thinking of going down this route?

Thanks again for your replies xxxx

maisym Fri 22-Jun-07 14:29:30

hello kkitty - a similiar tale of woe!! Thinking as well about getting a solicitor to handle everything and sell a house. Seems the less stressful route. best wishes xxx

MrsPuddleduck Fri 22-Jun-07 15:59:50

Are you sure that you need to sell the house and make a contribution.

I thought there was a change in the law and you did not have to pay if paliative (?!) and nursing was required.

Check it out.

katiekitty Fri 22-Jun-07 16:12:00

Hello Willmouse, I'll look into this - do you know anywhere I can find out about it as I'm finding it very hard to get any information from the nursing team and liaison workers who made the transfer for my mother from nhs hospital to a private one.

I'm going to be speaking with one of them on Monday though, so I'll ask them about this.

The reason the house has to be sold is that her savings are going to run out soon and the nursing home costs over £700 a week minimum. Plus, we found out that her house has been uninsured since last October (!!!, I know!!!) and it is a sitting target for vandalism with the windows having been smashed on several occasions. Can't get it insured because it is unoccupied and the prior vandalism has made it impossible to insure. My mother herself has said she wants it sold, so we have to go along with what she wants. It's in a poor state of repair inside and out, with no kitchen at the moment and some plastering which was in the proces of being done when she was admitted to hospital, so she won't get a very good price for it, I fear.

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble!

oohh, maisy, let me know how you get on and what you find out along the way. We can swap stories and things we learn along the way..I'm sure there'll be plenty!!

I'll try and check in on this thread over the weekend, if I'm quiet, it's because I've not got access to a pc as I don't have one at home and only have access at work.

Thanks everyone mwah xxx

Lilymaid Fri 22-Jun-07 16:35:47

I don't think the law has changed re nursing home funding. When someone goes into nursing care, however, you can claim attendance allowance and nursing care allowance. The latter has three bands depending on the amount of nursing care required. This allowance only covers a small aproportion of nursing home fees (it is supposed to cover the cost of care by a registered nurse, not care given by a nursing or care assistant). Full funding is fairly rare and only given to those in extreme cases.

maisym Sat 23-Jun-07 00:03:20

hi KKitty - similiar troubles! will update when I have any news. Hope you get some answers - it's so difficult when you need info and no one seems to know (this is what happens to me!) Interested to hear if you find any insurance solution as well.

mummypoppins Tue 26-Jun-07 16:46:39

hi katiekitty...........I am in the midlands....worcester but know a number of people in other parts that could help.

You will have to sell the house or have a charge put on it to pay for the fees.

you can sometime get continuing care help but this is limited

You both really need to get some legal advice. I am afriad the authorities will rarely tell you what you are entitled to.

katiekitty Tue 26-Jun-07 16:53:10

Maisym - I've tracked down a company called Camberford-Law (google them and you'll find the website), they insure unoccupied properties - there's an online form. It may help you, hope so.

I'm still a bit stuck as to get my mother to fill out the form, she'll need assistance but afaik, she hasnt given anyone poa, so we shall see what happens there. I'm going to suggest to the nursing home that she gets her solicitor to help, but ultimately it is up to her. Very worrying.

General question here...Regarding POA - do any mumsnetters out there know the answer to this: if my mother was to appoint someone as her power of attorney person, would I as her daughter be notified? Even though I am not listed as her main next of kin at the nursing home? It turns out she has given the name of her sister overseas for this purpose.

Thank you xxxx

katiekitty Tue 26-Jun-07 17:03:42

hello mummypoppins, you wrote just as I was replying to maisy! So here's a little reply just for you!

Thank you for replying to the thread, I think I may have to get legal advice on this too as it's all so complicated and very confusing. I spoke with someone from the hospital my mother has just moved from to go to the private nursing home and they said she is not entitled to continuing care as she only meets part of the criteria. I tried to find out which points she met and which she didn't as it seems so random but they were again very, very evasive.

They said they had a copy of the findings of the panel, who decided the continuing care (or lack of it), but couldn't send it to me without consulting my mother first. They have awarded her £133 a week of high band contributions towards the £760 a week the nursing home is costing but...I fear this may be a bit longwinded, I do apologise - this has to be deducted at the nusing home end.

I called the nursing home to make sure she was ok and was capable of sorting out all the paperwork herself, but it seems she is being left to her own devices regarding sorting out deductions and indeed payments. I am very worried about this as there is no one to look after her finances but her and she is very confused, no matter what the nurses say. Also, my mother has not yet even signed her contract despite being in the home for some three weeks - do you think I should be concerned?

I really think she needs a reliable poa to help her but I don't know how to go about suggesting it to the nursing home as last time I did, they said they didn't want to be seen to be leading her into a decision she hadn't made. But, she is very ill and I think not in full control of her faculties. I am at a total loss.

Sorry to have gone on about this. x

katiekitty Tue 26-Jun-07 17:04:52

Mummypoppins, sorry, during that last rant of mine, I forgot to ask you something!

What do you mean by a charge being put onto the house?

xxx kk

mummypoppins Wed 27-Jun-07 11:27:23

Katie kitty you have to take the bull by the horns. If you think your mother isnt capable then chose a solicitor and get them to visit mum in the home to make the power of attorney.If the solicitor is unsure then they will seek a formal opinion from her GP The home will as you say want to stay out of it.

You can appeal the decsion on NHS funding. We are doing 2 at the moment. But you will need help.

As far as the charge is concerned then your mother is entitled to 12 weeks paid for in the home by the LA but after that if she hasn't sold her own house they will continue to pay but put a legal charge on the property to make sure that they are reimbursed when it is sold.

You are entitled to Attendane Allowance as well and this can be backdated. Get the forms from the local DWP ofice.

Do get some help. You will sink with the pressure and you need to be strong for mum.


BetsyBoop Wed 27-Jun-07 15:21:58

KK, we had the same problem with my Dad a few years back, so I can sympathise.

Act now while your Mum is still capable of agreeing to the POA (we were advised by my Dad's solicitor that it's a much harder route once they are deemed incapable of making the decision)

You might want to think about joint POA with a solicitor - still let them do the bulk of the donkey work, but it give you the option to be involved in the bits you might want to be further down the line.

maisym Wed 27-Jun-07 20:37:34

just caught up on here! - thanks to all for the helpful info.

kkitty - a very similiar situation!! hope things work out for you xxx

katiekitty Thu 28-Jun-07 09:41:46

Hello everyone, it's all been kicking off this week, loads has happened! The main thing is, I've got a solicitor visiting my mother at her nursing home next week to discuss poa with her. Yay!!!

I got a really weird letter from her (my mother) in which she was really concerned about bills and what she needs to pay, so hopefully, the solicitor will be able to convey the importance of having someone in place to look after all the finances for her. She still hasn't been able to sort out her paperwork and bills she owes to the nursing home yet, nor has she signed a contract yet, after 3 weeks of being in there, so it's good that someone can now help her and explain things. I will keep you all posted!

BetsyB - how did the joint poa work? What sort of things did you get involved in? Was it easy to keep track of everything?

Thank you all for your help xxxx

MrsMuddle Thu 28-Jun-07 10:04:40

I don't know too much about this, but I believe that if your mother is not fully mentally "there", then a POA won't be granted. It can only be used when you have full mental capacity. For example, I went abroad for a year and gave my mum POA to pay bills, vote on my behalf etc etc. What you could be looking at is financial guardianship, which is something that has to be granted by a court or the office of the public guardian. I would see if your mother is entitled to an advocate (maybe under the mental health act?) who would make sure her wishes were followed and who could negotiate with the care providers on her behalf. Also, you don't say what your mother is ill with, but it might be an idea to see if there is an organisation that deals with the condition. They might have helpline or access to legal advice or at least they could advise on entitlements. Or you could try Help the Aged. They'll be able to advise on home costs / fees etc. Hope it all works out for you. You must be incredibly stressed. Thinking of you.

katiekitty Thu 28-Jun-07 12:49:56

Hello MrsMuddle - thank you for advising this, as I think (and I've known her longer than all the doctors and nurses in that hospital) that she is not mentally all there as she is showing very real signs of mental deterioration. For example, in her letters she darts from one subject to another in the same sentence and she also wrote a paragraph detailing her toilet visits, which she then wrote afterwards 'please ignore'. This is totally out of character for her!

She has terminal cancer (of lymph, stomach and bowel) and she weighs about, what I guess must be about 7 stone, when last time I saw her, she was a good size 20+ for about ten years, so she is very ill.

I hadn't thought of getting in touch with a help group for cancer, that's a brilliant idea. Is bacup the main one? They should be able to give some no nonsense advice. I'm also going to have a look at Help the Aged. Thank you for your help and thoughts xxxxxxxx

BetsyBoop Thu 28-Jun-07 15:01:02


my brother & I had joint POA, so it was a little different (my Dad insisted on this, there are only two of us & he wanted the assurance that everything would be sorted our fairly between us - having had problems with his younger brother emptying his mother's bank account years ago....long story....) We basically divided up the responsibilities between us, I took DWP & all the hospital stuff, my brother took household bills & we shared responsibility for his investments

However I was thinking there might be things you would want involvement in, eg sorting out your mother's personal effects, as you are more likely to know what is of sentimental value etc, even though it may have little monetary value. Once you hand control to the solicitor you legally don't have a say in what happens (and for every "good" solicitor who would liaise with you there are "bad" ones who might take advantage of the situation....having worked for a building society I know there is far more "back scratching" goes on between estate agents, solicitors & banks/building societies than most people realise...) You could agree up front what you are happy for them to deal with alone & then by default they need to liaise with you about anything else.

katiekitty Fri 29-Jun-07 09:43:18

BB - sound advice, thank you. I'm going to speak with the solicitor after she has visited my mother next week and see what came of the meeting. She may well choose a friend to have poa, or she may ask the solicitor to look after everything. If she does, I will keep a very close eye on all matters as I've worked for an estate agent before and have seen first hand the wheeler-dealing that goes on. Never pleasant.

I chose the solicitor in question as they were recommended by a colleague of mine (we are journalists) so I think they are aware if they mess up or rip us off, there will be an almighty come back on them.

To be honest, my mother hasn't got much stuff, there are no family heirlooms or even things of sentimental value (she didn't even have photos of her children), so all that is in her house is furniture and books, that sort of thing. I guess though that it will have to be cleared, I will find out what her wishes are for this. If she hasn't got any wishes for this, I will give it to charity - any suggestions are very welcome!

Thanks everyone for adding your valuable advice on this, everyday brings something new to deal with and it's good to know mn is there for support xxxx

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