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App for keeping records

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Emerion, May 8, 2018.

  1. Emerion

    Emerion Registered User

    Sep 21, 2017
    13
    Hello,
    Has anyone found an app that helps you to keep simple records of expenditure as an attorney? I don't need a complex accounts package, but I want something a bit more organised and friendly than simple notes.
     
  2. Philbo

    Philbo Registered User

    Feb 28, 2017
    476
    Male
    Kent
    I just use a simple Excel spreadsheet for keeping a log of any expenditure for my wife (PWD).

    I only do this so that when the time comes that her savings/half of our joint current account drops below the SS threshold, I can demonstrate where the money has been spent. At present, she would be self funding so not had to have any financial assessments but if and when we need to consider full time care, then this would quickly take her below the £23,250 level.

    Phil
     
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    11,902
    Female
    England
    Go in the App Store and type in spreadsheets, lots to choose from.

    You can buy account books from a good stationers, I used them for my husband when he found it too difficult to access his business accounts on the computer. He had a paper copy and I worked from the computer.
     
  4. julianps

    julianps New member

    May 29, 2018
    6
    #4 julianps, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
    Not wishing to get involved in the semantics go this, S7.67 of the Code of Practice (p133 in my copy) states;

    Duty to keep accounts
    Property and affairs attorneys must keep accounts of transactions carried out on the donor’s behalf. Sometimes the Court of Protection will ask to see accounts. If the attorney is not a financial expert and the donor’s affairs are relatively straightforward, a record of the donor’s income and expenditure (for example, through bank statements) may be enough. The more complicated the donor’s affairs, the more detailed the accounts may need to be.

    However It should be noted OPG's investigations teams have little interest in the Act or the Code and operate according to their own Regulations ("The Lasting Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Public Guardian Regulations - 2007"; as a newbie I cannot link to these, but they're easy to find via Google/DuckDuckGo/etc)

    If there is an investigation into your attorneyship you will be asked to produce all invoices for all expenditure you have incurred within a Reporting Period (i.e. the period covered by the investigation). Of course if your PWD has capacity enough to make decisions for their day-to-day expenditure life will get very difficult for you because (i) they're not required to produce invoices; meaning, (ii) you'll have to show you assessed their capacity at the time you elected not to keep a record of their spending.

    Yes; this can feel very much like Catch-22 in operation.

    The long-and-the-short-of-this is, at the very minimum, you should keep bank statements for every account you have responsibility for, and attach to each statement supporting documentation for every entry on the page (in and out). If you also manage assets for you PWD (a car, shares in quoted companies, or you pre-pay utilities with a supplier) you'll need to be a able to cross-reference service/fuel invoices - dividend receipts - pre-payments and utility invoices, between the bank statements and the respective asset.

    Because the 2007 Regulations require you to account for every transaction the function of which is not immediately apparent in the bank statements (i.e. transfers/cheques/deposits, etc).

    The Sections of the investigation form (i.e. the records you'd be wise to keep) are;

    1 - Bank and building society accounts
    2 - Investments (interest-bearing investments)
    3 - Property including rental property, etc
    4 - Assets including land, businesses assets, etc
    5 - Debts (OPG is especially keen on those taken out since the LPA/EPA was registered)
    6 - Income (direct/Indirect)
    7 - General Spending (you might consider this to be outgoings) <= You get to choose how you categorise this
    8 - Specific Spending (anything not identifiable from bank statements <= "You need to send evidence (receipts/invoices) along with this report".
    9 - Gifts including all Loans <= The presumption is that all loans are gifts unless you can show otherwise; the Act/Code will assist with your rebuttal of this presumption. However, if you fail, and did not get Court of Protection pre-approval you might need legal advice
    10 - Any Will of the PWD
    11 - Future Decision and Changes <= Time to polish your crystal ball
    12 - Your allowances and Expenses <= You'll need invoices and receipts here as well
    13 - Any other addresses where your PWD lived for more than 6 weeks in the Reporting Period <= take care if you receive Attendance Allowance and didn't tell DWP about such periods
    14 - Any other information you wish to share
    15 - Declaration and Signature <= You must certify the information is complete to the best of your knowledge AND confirm you have read and understood MCA 2005 and the Code of Practice (as a newbie I cannot link to these, but they're easy to find via Google/DuckDuckGo/etc).

    If your records do not let you pull this together with the minimum of fuss then you will find an Investigation to be enormously onerous and stressful.

    My wife, who is finance-attorney for her mother, and uses a MacBook, bought a copy of MONEY by Jumsoft (Mac App Store) mostly because (i) it's cheap, (ii) it's easy to use; and, (iii) it's easy to write customisable reports that match OPG's Sections and slot into the investigations pack.

    We then went out and bought a ScanSnap scanner (that hurt, but not as much as the investigation did!!). In reality any scanner will do and any storage software will do; some will consider Evernote or Microsoft OneNote. We also trialled Paperless (Mariner Software; Win & Mac), Eaglefiler and DevonThink (last two; Mac only) but in the end settled on the Fujitsu's ScanSnap Receipt software that came bundled with the i1300 scanner we bought.

    ScanSnap Receipt works with both Mac and Windows, OCR's receipts, grabs payee and amount information right off the invoice, let's us assign receipts to the same categories we set up in MONEY, allows us to merge/split invoices, allows us to export the invoices/receipts as pages within a single PDF file, and all the spending records to a .CSV/Excel file.

    Basically we can now produce whatever is needed at the press of a button.

    My own advice for anyone new to finance-attorneyship is hope-for-the-best-but-plan-for-the-worst. Your only real reason to keep records and receipts is to protect yourself if one day OPG Investigators and/or a CoP Visitor come knocking.

    My own advice for anyone considering agreement to be a finance-attorneyship is, if this sounds like a pain-in-the-proverbial, then don't agree. Because it certainly can be.

    Footnote Anyone who is a little more confident with basic bookkeeping might consider MoneyWorks Cashbook software (direct from the publisher) as it is feature-packed and free. And there are decent demos on YouTube.
     
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    7,191
    Female
    South coast
    I had Court of Protection Deputyship for mum and used a simple spreadsheet on excel. Its really not that onerous (unless the finances are very complicated) and Im actually very bad at book-keeping.
     
  6. julianps

    julianps New member

    May 29, 2018
    6
    Yes, my wife has considered revoking her attorneyship and applying to be a Deputy instead, for precisely this reason.
     
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    7,191
    Female
    South coast
    I would have said that being a CoP deputy is more onerous than having POA because if you are a CoP deputy you have to return an annual financial report detailing (down to the last penny) exactly how you have managed the finances.

    I am assuming that someone has made a complaint about how how the POA has been used. If this is so and the POA is revoked then I think it likely that the CoP would appoint a solicitor instead.
     
  8. julianps

    julianps New member

    May 29, 2018
    6
    I think where my wife's coming from is the OPG investigators want things penny-precise too and can investigate any period (there's no concept of Limitations) where as a Deputy once the report is in you can move on.

    Though I take your point, that as Deputies aren't appointed by the PWD they have less flexibility in how they provide support to them. And are subject to greater oversight/need for financial guarantees/bonds/etc.

    The complaint against my wife was malicious and the CoP Visitor got stuck in so my wife's not overly worried she'll be removed; She's more worried the complainant will make this an annual thing, mine is that so long as we set ourselves up to handle it annually then eventually the complainant will get tired.

    As I'm a Replacement Attorney removing my wife as attorney simply passes the buck to me.
     

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