Dave feels like treating himself. After weeks of dealing with nuisances, stony-hearted landlords and competitors with sharp practices, and anxious to avoid the building work that is about to devastate his tranquillity, Dave decides that it is high time he and Maeve took themselves on holiday.
Dave doesn’t much care where it is; Maeve is a little more choosy, and insists that it is to a place where the mobile phone signal is non-existent. Dave reluctantly agrees, and they look forward merrily to three weeks’ escape on a tiny Caribbean island.
The morning before their flight, Dave takes a call from the estate agent, Seymour Holmes, dealing with the house he inherited from his great aunt Bridget. (Sorry, did we forget to mention her? Surely you realised by now that Dave has a complicated family. It only gets worse – stay tuned for future instalments.)
What emerges is that, by one of those curious twists of fate that seem to pervade poor Dave’s life, Seymour has just received an offer on Bridget’s house. Not just an offer, but a very generous offer indeed: one that Dave will be a fool to pass up. However, the purchaser wants everything done and dusted in a fortnight, and Dave realises that he won’t be able to manage this if he’s sunning himself on a beach in Santa Remotica.
If he cancels the holiday, the prospect of a very large addition to the family funds will have to be weighed against the icy wind that will chill every corner of his home for months. So what to do? There’s only one person he can turn to for advice in a situation like this: enter Simon.
“You can do both” says Simon, “you can have your cake and eat it; or in other words, you can have the cash and the holiday.”
“Don’t be ridiculous” says Dave (or words to that effect). “How can I be in two places at one time?”
“Easy” says Simon, with a smugness that makes Dave want to throttle him. “Appoint an attorney”.
“Are you suggesting I’m soft in the head?”
Is it just Dave being paranoid, or does Simon hesitate a fraction too long before denying it? “Of course not, I don’t mean that kind of power of attorney.
It’s when you get someone to act on your behalf for a certain purpose or a certain time – like when you go on holiday or into hospital, or something like that.”
“So what did I think you were talking about?”
“A lasting power of attorney. That’s for when people make arrangements in case a time comes that they don’t have mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The kind I’m talking about only lasts as long as you want it to, and it might just cover a single property, or a bank account. almost anything, really.”
Dave ponders for a moment, realising that he may yet again land on his feet. “I suppose you get all this that from that website you’re always going on about,” he says.
“Simplify the Law? Yes, they explain the different kinds of power of attorney you might want.” They even have one that you can draft yourself so someone can do everything for you while you’re away.”
“But I’ll never get this sorted in time” moans Dave.
“Of course you will”, says Simon. “It’s a really straightforward thing to do. You just need a witness, and someone you can trust to be your attorney.”
Dave briefly considers all the members of his large and interesting family. “I can’t think of anyone for that”, he says. “Any ideas?”
Simon smiles serenely. “Well as it happens, I don’t have much on at the moment”.
Sure enough, a couple of hours later everything is sorted. Simon is granted the necessary power of attorney to deal with the property, and Dave gets on the phone to let Seymour know that all can proceed as planned.
And before we know it, Dave is at the airport, with his mind on the in-flight drinks menu, and trying to remember which pocket he put his passport in…