Case Study 2

Jean and Albert

Jean and Albert Smith are both in their early 60s and until fairly recently have enjoyed good health in their retirement. Both have been active and enjoy a good social life visiting their friends and their 6 grandchildren.

Their elder son and his family are emigrating to Canada later in the year. Their two daughters both live a 30 minute drive away.

Jean noticed that Albert was beginning to get increasingly forgetful and very reluctant to drive anywhere. After much persuasion Albert to go to visit the GP. Albert has since been diagnosed with early stage vascular dementia. In the middle of this Jean has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and is facing a course of radiotherapy treatment. Both Albert and Jean recognise that they will need some form of support in the future and have discussed getting a PoA while they both have capacity to do so. 

Jean and Albert have had a family meeting with their three children and their partners to discuss what support will be required. Both Jean and Albert have written Wills appointing each other and their children to be their executors. Following advice, Jean and Albert decided to get their affairs in order by appointing their children as their attorneys, as they both recognise that may need assistance to make decisions in the future. 

A power of attorney (PoA) is an important and powerful document and you may wish to take legal advice when thinking about making one. You need to give careful consideration who to appoint as your attorney. This should be someone you are confident will act responsibly and who has the necessary skills to carry out the tasks and make decisions on your behalf. It’s good practice to write down your thoughts or have a conversation with your attorneys to help them understand what is important to you, such as your:

  • Preferred place of residence and how that should be arranged
  • Food - likes and dislikes
  • Entertainment - likes and dislikes
  • Friends and others you’d like to keep in touch with
  • Birthdays of others you’d like support to remember
  • Spiritual or religious beliefs and practices
  • Lifestyle choices such as preference to be busy, or to sleep late at weekends
  • Activities – eg. walking, reading, watching television, music
  • Fluctuating capacity (or not), and how people can recognise when they should start helping you, and when to leave the decision making to you

The more detailed the information you provide, the more able your attorney will be to ensure that your wishes are followed.  You can make your wishes as detailed as you like by writing them in the PoA document or by adding a separate letter which expresses those wishes, known as ‘a Letter of Wishes’.  Please refer to for more information on how to personalise your PoA.