Power of Attorney: Why a Lady Was Arrested After Taking Her 97-Yr-Previous Mom from a Nursing House – James MacKinnon


The pandemic has caused great trouble for families across the country and, unfortunately, Covid-19 has resulted in thousands losing their lives.

Monday, December 7, 2020, 4:45 p.m.

“/>There are several types of powers of attorney that can be important when there are problems caring for an elderly person (Image: John Devlin).There are several types of powers of attorney that can be important if you have problems caring for an elderly person (Image: John Devlin).

In addition to those who died, there are significant numbers of people who have had difficulty recovering fully, had to stay in hospital for extended periods, or were temporarily or even permanently disabled.

The disease has impacted families across the UK, regardless of their background, wealth or geographic location, and it has created a situation that many may never have considered dealing with – that is, how can we protect ourselves when we cannot attend to our own business.

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Sara Smith: Power of attorney isn’t just for “old” people

This particular issue has come to the fore in the past few weeks in the case of a retired nurse, Ylenia Angeli, who was arrested for removing her 97-year-old mother from a nursing home.

Mrs. Angeli just wanted to take care of her mother herself.

The family relied on a Power of Attorney (POA) and believed they had the authority to take the actions they took.

And that’s the bottom line though – they only had one POA that covered Ms. Angeli’s mom’s finances, not her health and wellbeing. In short, they had no legal say in their care and so the police were called to bring Ms. Angeli’s mother back to the nursing home.

Although this case has occurred in England, the same general principles apply in Scotland. A power of attorney is a written document that allows you to give legal authority to those you trust to make decisions on your behalf. It lists all of the specific individual powers you want your attorneys to have.

In Scotland, ongoing power of attorney allows you to make decisions about your property and financial matters.

A Welfare Power of Attorney enables decisions to be made about health and welfare issues such as care.

In most cases, the best option may be a combined POA. A lawyer will help you draft it and make sure your intentions are made clear. You’ll also have an interview with a lawyer or doctor – essentially to see if you fully understand what you are doing.

The consequences of not having a mandate can be severe, and the lack of those legal powers means that in times of need the primary option is to have a relative or guardian apply to the court for a guardianship order. This can be extremely complex, expensive, and stressful for everyone involved.

For those who already have a power of attorney, it is never too early to review and determine whether or not it is appropriate and whether it needs to be changed.

This terrible public health crisis has undoubtedly highlighted a situation that has left families, especially those who have found themselves in the role of carers when they did not expect it.

While we all hope this crisis will eventually end, none of us can predict what the future will look like.

We all have a responsibility to those who may need to look after us in the future – it is definitely worth thinking about how we can make their lives a little easier.

James MacKinnon is the head of private banking at Aberdein Considine

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