These days (in England) a person has to have the mental capacity to give someone a Lasing Power of Attorney. If the person does not have such capacity, then the alternative is to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a deputy. Some years ago, when the wording was different, my wife's mother gave her power of attorney , and a doctor and manager at the hospital had to certify that she had the mental capacity to understand the implications. The second solicitor you met appears to be wrong. See here for the Government paper on this matter.
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