At a loss to sort out bills

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Dog5Body4U, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Dog5Body4U

    Dog5Body4U Registered User

    Jul 10, 2016
    59
    Rochdale Lancashire
    My wife has been made appointee for her mum (who has Alzheimer's) as we cannot afford to pay for power of attorney and now we are wondering how to sort out paying the electric & gas bills my wife rang the electric supplier & explained that her mum is no longer able to make decisions very well due to the Alzheimer's and they said without POA they couldn't tell her anything about the bill unless her mum could sign a letter or actually tell them over the phone that she was happy for her daughter to sort out the bill but my wife explained that would be illegal as her mum would not know what the letter was or the phone call so now my wife is in serious panic mode wondering what we can do now
    Eventually we will have to give up the place where her mum used to live and get the gas & electric cut off and pay the final bill but how can we do this legally without POA ???
    It's taken 7 months for social services to give a social worker and we are still waiting for them to make the decision that it would be in the best interest to make mum a permanent resident in the home and we are just stuck in limbo wondering what we can do next
     
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    For whatever reason (I can't remember) but the gas and electric bills are in my wife's name and one is still in her maiden name even though we got married in 1983.
    When a bill arrives I either post them a cheque, on my account and in my name or I go into the bank and pay over the counter with my card any no one has ever queried that they're billing one person but getting paid by another, I suspect as long as someone pays the bill they don't care who it is.
    I suspect that if I tried to change supplier or something they would ask to speak to the person named on the bill as that's the person they legally have a contract with and so anything done should be done with their consent.
    If there is some way you can recover them money from your mother in law then I'd pay the bills and get the money back from her assuming you have access to her funds and you keep records of everything you do.
    I had some issues a few years ago when my mother moved in with me and I had to finalise selling her house, the utility companies said they needed to speak to her, I explained the situation and offered to sort it out or they could send the bills to her previous address, having been informed of her situation, when faced with the choice of deal with me or not get paid they all backed down and dealt with me even though I had no POA at the time.
    K
     
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    Can I ask why you feel you cannot afford to get an lpa (assuming your mil is still competent)? Because fees should be paid by the person with dementia not the attorney.

    Sent from my XT1526 using Talking Point mobile app
     
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,739
    Female
    London
    #4 Beate, Mar 15, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
    You don't need to pay solicitor fees. Fill it in yourself with the help of the guidance notes and a charity like Age UK, then the only thing payable is the registration fee of £110. If your Mum has less than £12,000 a year coming in, this fee halves, and if she's on certain benefits, the registration is free. If you can't access her money now you can pay it and get it back afterwards.

    However, if your Mum can't understand a letter to the energy company, I doubt she will understand signing an LPA. You would then have to go down the more costly deputyship route.
     
  5. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,178
    For a Power of Attorney, the person only has to understand what they are signing at the time of signing.
    Whether they remember signing it later is neither here nor there.
    Pick a good day, and get her GP to be the "Certificate Provider".

    Bod
     
  6. Fullticket

    Fullticket Registered User

    Apr 19, 2016
    468
    Chard, Somerset
    At a loss...

    Before we activated the POA I had to do similar. I found that by being with mum when speaking to energy providers, etc., explaining the situation and then putting her on the line to them it was all quite straightforward. She had enough communication skills to say who she was and where she lived and what her date of birth was (and who I was if they asked) so I could then talk freely with them (if they asked her what her last debit with them was I left the bank statement on the table and pointed at the relevant debit so she could tell them!).
    I left the standing order coming out of her account and checked the bank statements but also made arrangements with her bank for me to have access to her account and my own debit card. She had not been officially diagnosed at the time but I found the bank very helpful and understanding - obviously I took her with me and she signed all the necessary forms but she really wasn't all that cognisant of what was going on at the time. It may have been easier because she was well known to them and I had had contact with them over time because we were concerned about money going missing from her account.
    Hope this helps.
     
  7. HillyBilly

    HillyBilly Registered User

    Dec 21, 2015
    1,947
    Ireland
    You'll be able to pay the bills yourself, using your money, or using your Mum's cards for now (if you can). If these options aren't possible then you'll have to explain the situation to the utility companies and request that they put a hold on the outstanding amounts until POA is in place and you can access your Mum's funds legally. Hopefully they will be understanding.
    If your Mum has a SW, mental health nurse or an Advocate they might be willing to write a confirming letter or make a call to back up your request.
    To deal with the property side of things and to disconnect the services you'll need to have POA (or Deputyship).
     
  8. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    441
    POA can be done online, and is easy and simple if your mum's finances are straightforward. Do finance as a priority then health and welfare. You can get anyone who knows your mum well (gp, vicar etc) to certify. it is a lot of money but the hassle it avoids makes it well worth it.
    I chose a day when my mum was perky and quite alert for her to sign with a neighbour as witness, and she did understand what she was doing that moment. I rewarded her with cream cakes and tea.
    It has made sorting out my mum's bills and finances much easier especially now she pays for her care.
     
  9. Peirre

    Peirre Registered User

    Aug 26, 2015
    160
    From experience IF the PWD is capable of speaking to the person on the other end of the phone, it is possible for you to contact the utility Co and explain the situation then get them to speak to the PWD to say it's ok for you to speak on their behalf. Then from then onwards you should be ok to continue. Or you could just speak to the Co as if you where the PWD, after all how would they know, asuming you know all the relevant info DOB etc
     
  10. Dog5Body4U

    Dog5Body4U Registered User

    Jul 10, 2016
    59
    Rochdale Lancashire
    Lpa / poa

    Unfortunately mil isn't in any fit state to sign or even agree to let my wife be in any control of anything she doesn't always even recognize my wife as her daughter she is hallucinating quite a bit lately so I don't think it would be legally possible to get her to sign anything anyway which is why the DSS sorted out appointee ship for my wife so she can legally keep control over mil benefits and pay for the home and whatever else the mil needs but we are not sure if that makes it legal for my wife to sort out giving up the mil house and cut off the gas and electric
     
  11. Dog5Body4U

    Dog5Body4U Registered User

    Jul 10, 2016
    59
    Rochdale Lancashire
    Lack of safety

    We have got the mil to give my wife the go ahead to sort out the housing but that was when she was a lot better now she really doesn't seem to understand where she is even what day of the week it is! I think we could ring the power company when we are with mil but I can't be sure she would understand who was on the phone
    As for pretending to be the mil that surely is illegal but I am sure that they will be happy to be paid by anyone
     
  12. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,178
    Off the wall thought.
    Is MiL registered for On-Line banking?
    Her bills could be paid over the internet. By who ever has her passwords.

    Bod
     
  13. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    Without a POA accessing someone's bank account could be viewed as fraud. Should the bank find out they could take a very dim view and freeze the account or hand it over to the police.
    K
     
  14. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    1,816
    Female
    Essex
    #14 nita, Mar 15, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
    It sounds to me from the stage your MIL is at that you need to apply to be her deputy under the Court of Protection. The forms are all online.

    https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy/overview

    I filled the forms in myself and if either you or your MIL is on a low income, you can apply for a fee reduction, otherwise the fees come out of her own savings. The forms are quite easy to complete and you can ring the OPG for guidance. You will need to get one of the sections completed by a person who can state your MIL lacks capacity.

    Once you have the court order stating that you are her deputy for property and financial affairs, you give this to the banks and utility companies and are then authorised to act on her behalf, only in her best interests, so that means you can pay her bills and, when necessary, sell her house.
     
  15. Dog5Body4U

    Dog5Body4U Registered User

    Jul 10, 2016
    59
    Rochdale Lancashire
    Thank you


    I will tell my wife and I can only say thanks ever so much for the helpful advice
     
  16. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,178
    That's the weakness of on-line banking, who's pressing the keys?
    Where's the line between fraud, and helping someone?

    Bod
     
  17. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    860
    Male
    Newcastle
    I have helped my wife with her on line banking since long before she showed signs of dementia. As she does not use a computer that means that I do it all on her behalf, but keeping her informed of what I am doing. Only problem was when a legitimate transfer to a different account (with a different bank) was stopped and access suspended. When I tried to get back on line via the telephone help desk the chap was very unhelpful and quite rude, even when my wife spoke to him (but could not understand his questions never mind answer them). We solved this by calling in at the nearest branch where the manager could not have been more helpful even when I told him who actually presses the keys. I do have Legal Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs but only when she does not have mental capacity (my mistake in setting it up that way). It cost only £55-00 done on line and all we had to do for the fee remission was send proof that her income was below the threshold.
     
  18. Dog5Body4U

    Dog5Body4U Registered User

    Jul 10, 2016
    59
    Rochdale Lancashire
    Thank you all

    I can only say thanks to you all for all the helpful suggestions & I believe we have it all sorted now
     
  19. Elle3

    Elle3 Registered User

    Jun 30, 2016
    623
    I have POA for my dad, which I have used with his bank, however I've had on-line banking access to his account for quite a while, even before the POA. We did a third party declaration access.

    Regarding all his bills, these are either paid by DD or I have to pay them through his account. The problem was when the bills got sent to my dad, he was getting very confused and worried about them and even throwing them away or trying to pay bills that were already to be paid by DD. So what I have done is changed all his bills to on-line banking, so no more post and I still haven't used my POA with them. You don't even have to contact the suppliers to do this, you just need an old bill with the account details.

    A good while ago now, my Mother in law had a serious stroke and my Father in law was really struggling to deal with the bills, especially the bills in her name, the companies just wouldn't talk to him unless they spoke to his wife first and she wasn't capable of doing that, so he just went round in circles and ended up getting into trouble with a few companies. In the end to help him out when he called them and they asked to speak to the account holder to give permission for him to speak to them on her behalf I pretended to be his wife. Sometimes you just have to 'break the law' to get past something like that.
     

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