This MyPOA Day – April 2024 blog post is some of the issues that I have to deal with on a daily basis being a power of attorney

Airbnb and others

There are some days where I feel like the POA universe is conspiring against me.  This time it is an apparently intractable problem with Airbnb but, they are not the first company, nor will they be the last.  Basically, Airbnb have suspended payouts for a rental property which bring in much needed cash for care costs.  It is not clear why the payments are not being made but, in order to find out I have to be verified on my Dad’s account.  So, I rang up Airbnb and they said I would have to be entered as a Point of Contact on the account.

No access

I don’t have access to the account and the only other person who does is in their 80s and pretty hopeless with technology.  Despite trying on numerous occasions, it has not been possible to add my name.  Unfortunately, I live 200 miles away from the relevant third party and the only way to access it would be with the other person’s mobile phone.  Airbnb even asked if I could get her password and log in myself, which surely must be a breach of protocol.  This won’t work unfortunately unless I have her mobile phone.  In this case also, the account email address had been discontinued and the mobile phone number had been cut off, as my Dad no longer needed them.  I wasn’t aware that they were being used for the Airbnb account.

Bearing in mind that I have all the correct legal documents as attorney for my Dad, I thought there must be another way.  I was wrong!  Airbnb won’t speak to me unless I can be added as a Point of Contact on the account.  But, there is no way of getting into the account to add me.  Airbnb refused to escalate the problem to a supervisor so, we were just going round in circles!

Daily Telegraph to the rescue

So, my next step was to contact the Daily Telegraph!  The Telegraph soon worked its magic through the consumer champion page, Katie Morley, and Airbnb was suddenly very keen to assist.

So, the moral of the story is, yet again, unless your name has been added to the account prior to the donor losing capacity, it is unlikely that you will get access.

Foreign Banks

In order to access funds abroad in a foreign bank, you will have to prove both your Lasting Power of Attorney and have to have the correct Mental Capacity Assessment (MCA).  Each MCA has to be specific to the reason it is being issued.  In this case, does my Dad have capacity to understand that his funds are abroad, deal with the foreign bank and be able to transfer the funds back to this country.  Including being able to understand the rate of currency and what is the most cost efficient way to move the money.  In addition, the MCA has to have been issued within 6 months.  In this case, it has taken so long to get through the various different stages that, yet another MCA is required.  I have written an article on this: Using a Lasting Power of Attorney Abroad

Parliamentary questions…

This has been a very lengthy process which has involved instructing two different UK solicitors, two Portugese solicitors, contacting many different experts to try and understand what to do both here and abroad and ending up with Dad’s MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.  His office has been fantastic and we have had a parliamentary question tabled to be answered by the Foreign Office because there is no coherent system for establishing power of attorney abroad.  The Sunday Times has also reported on it on 6 May 2024: Dad has Dementia and his Portugese bank won’t release £250k (behind a paywall).

Radio 5 Live – Family Group Chat

I was asked to go on Gordon Smart’s Family Group Chat (at 36 minutes in) on Radio 5 Live on Wednesday to talk about my experiences as an attorney.  It was a very interesting programme which discussed Lasting Power of Attorney, wills and inheritance.  The enduring message from the panel was to make sure that you have those awkward conversations.  One tip was to have the awkward conversation during a care journey. This limits the amount of time you can have the conversation, and you are not facing each other.

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