A new will was duly drafted and signed with my husband and I as joint executors. It was at this point that the solicitor suggested that Dot also consider an Enduring Power of Attorney. He explained that the document would authorise whoever Dot nominated to act for her in relation to her financial affairs while she was alive.
According to family folklore, it was at this point that Dot hit the roof and the solicitor hid under the table. As I said, Dot was a very independent woman. The idea of giving up control over such an important part of her life – while she was still alive – was unthinkable. She conveyed her thoughts on the suggestion in no uncertain terms to the solicitor.
His question – from under the table – stopped her cold. “You’re a diabetic. What if you went into a permanent diabetic coma. Who would you want making the decisions about your affairs?”
I could imagine the thoughts running through her head. I’m not saying our family is dysfunctional - what with his kids and her kids - but if you look at our family tree you’ll see it’s a self pruner. After a moment’s rumination she answered: “Where do I sign?”
That decision was our salvation. When the time came to enact the enduring power of attorney, it was Dot’s decision and it was a smooth transition. No arguments from the family or hassles with the banks.
A few months later Dot died. As hard as it was to lose her, the pain of her death was tempered by the ease with which we were able to manage her estate. As her attorneys in life, my husband and I because the executors on her death. A smooth transition. Again, no arguments from the family and no hassles in our dealings with authorities.
This week in Money Matters we go into the practicalities of drafting an enduring power of attorney and offer suggestions on where to go for further information.
Life Matters continues the legal theme featuring a working carer’s story and their tips when it comes to the administration and financial side of caring.
Suggestions on how to negotiate workplace flexibility with your employer is the Work Matters topic this week and you’ll find details on working with service providers and complaint protocols in Other Matters.
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