With the news that the former footballer Jimmy Hill is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease came the accompanying stories that his family are in dispute over his care. Such circumstances are worryingly common, but can usually be avoided.
The former Match of the Day presenter was the first English club chairman to abolish standing at matches and was a well-known figure in the profession. Jimmy Hill gave joint powers of attorney to his current wife and a solicitor in 2005. By 2008, Jimmy Hill’s condition became such that he was deemed to have lost mental capacity, and the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, meaning that his wife and the solicitor could take over management of his affairs. The person who makes the power of attorney (‘donor’) cannot alter the identity of his attorneys after he loses mental capacity, so Jimmy Hill’s choice of attorneys was binding and what followed was that his children have no say in the running of his affairs.
EPAs were replaced from 1 October 2007 by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) which have the same effect.
Jimmy Hill’s five children (from his previous marriages) only discovered the existence of the EPA in 2008, and they did not find out that they were not named as attorneys until the EPA was registered. Understandably, their lack of involvement caused friction in the family.
This case has attracted significant media attention as two of Jimmy Hill’s children made the news of his condition public in an effort to raise awareness regarding the problems around mental capacity. Joanna Hill, Jimmy’s daughter has commented that children should talk to their parents and discuss how affairs should be dealt with before deterioration sets in.
This high-profile case highlights the need to make a power of attorney and to choose your attorneys carefully. Opting for a power of attorney can involve emotional decisions, but in the long run it is more desirable for both the individual and their family. Without an LPA, people are powerless to do even the most simple things on their relatives’ behalf- there would be the need to apply to the Court of Protection which is a lengthy and costly process.
Legalmatters can assist here by offering an affordable, fixed-fee Estate Protection package (Will and LPA). Avoid unnecessary uncertainty for your family.