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Ex-footballer’s family anguish over powers of attorney

Children want their say in how Jimmy Hill is cared for now he has dementia

17 October 2013

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Two of Jimmy Hill's five children have voiced their concern at not having a say in his treatment or affairs now he has lost mental capacity.

It was revealed in September that the 85-year-old former footballer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 and is living in a nursing home. Three years earlier he gave joint powers of attorney to his wife, Bryony, and a solicitor.

The issue highlights the distinction between enduring powers of attorney (EPA), which cover managing property and affairs, and lasting powers of attorney (LPA), which were brought in with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and introduced the power to deal with health and welfare.

Daughter Joanna reportedly said: "Children should talk to their parents, before deterioration sets in, about how they want to be looked after and whom they want to be in charge of their lives."

James Lister, associate in the contentious trusts and estate team at Charles Russell, said in this case not even Hill's attorneys have power to make care decisions for him so whether or not his children feel they have a say is irrelevant.

"Attorneys under EPAs have a relatively limited duty to consult with family members when making decisions, although best practice usually dictates that sensible attorneys should consult where possible so as to satisfy their general obligation to act in the 'best interests' of the donor.

"There is a duty to consult with anyone who is 'interested in the donor's welfare' where it is practicable and appropriate to do so - that does not mean that an attorney has to follow what those family members might say.

"The attorneys are under an obligation to behave properly and have duties to fulfil concerning the proper management of Mr Hill's assets - just because his children don't have control of it, or indeed disagree with those decisions, doesn't make them wrong."


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