The importance of enduring powers of attorney.

Robert and Ruth were approaching seventy and lead a comfortable life.

They were financially secure and had no mortgage against their existing home. Ruth’s memory had been deteriorating and they had considered moving into a retirement village to provide them with the comfort of having specialist dementia support at their fingertips. They found a retirement village that was perfect for their needs and had rest home facilities if required down the track.

As a couple they had a number of friends who had moved into retirement villages and enjoyed the lifestyle. At dinner with friends they discovered that serviced apartments in a new retirement village in their neighbourhood (not yet built) were selling off the plans quickly. The Sales Manager at the village had given them a hefty pile of documents for signing and told them to obtain legal advice. They knew they had to see their lawyer before they could sign these documents.

Ruth was keen to move as soon as possible but they first had to sell their existing home. Robert was concerned that purchasing an apartment in a retirement village was not a good investment as he has heard that there would be no capital gains. These worries were causing them both to lose a great deal of sleep.

In the meantime, Ruth was increasingly becoming disoriented and her doctor was concerned that she was losing capacity. Ruth’s doctor suggested she see a lawyer to have Enduring Powers of Attorney prepared. Ruth forgot to tell Robert of this and her memory continued to decline until she couldn’t think for herself.

Robert and Ruth were unable to sell their property and move to an apartment in a village as Ruth had lost capacity to sign the necessary documents. If only Robert and Ruth had seen a solicitor about their move to the village earlier, they would have been able to realise their dreams! Ruth is now in care and rather than living in the same village, Robert is travelling great distances to visit her daily.

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