Cautionary tale - banking

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Rhoda, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Rhoda

    Rhoda Registered User

    Mar 15, 2007
    West London
    In one of last Sunday's papers there was a story of an elderly lady (76) who mentioned to her husband's bank that she was taking over some of the work of paying bills etc, which he had asked her to do as he was suffering some memory problems. They assumed Alzheimer's and immediately froze his account, including the £200 cash she had just handed in. This was while he was standing beside her! She and her son were advised to consult a solicitor to have the account reopened, which might cost £1500. There was a lot more to the story about the bank's poor service and the woman's problems in paying bills. And her husband died a few days after the freezing of the account.

    But the lesson I draw from this is NOT to let my partner's bank know that he has any mental problem - I can quite truthfully tell them that he has had a couple of strokes which have affected his right side and ability to sign, and his speech.

    My partner is now in a Local Authority care home. His fees will be largely funded by the LA, but his income (pension) naturally has to be paid to the LA. At present it goes into his bank account and I do not know how to get it paid over to the LA. Because of the above story I am hoping to get some independent advice before I take on the bank. Or the LA, who may well be helpful - I'm just being cautious.

    At the moment I can make some payments out of his account because a few months ago he handed over his debit card to me with his new PIN - well one of us had to be able to remember it! This works fine for clothing and toiletries but I'm not sure about the much larger amounts for his care. My own bank assured me there is nothing illegal in using someone else's debit card and PIN if they have asked you to do so.

    A document I got from the CAB mentions a "Third Party Mandate", a carefully worded letter in a set form to the person's bank, signed by the person, authorising a third party (e.g. me) to make payments, draw cheques, etc.
    I am reluctant to get a solicitor involved just yet as the total amount of money is very small - assets of about £2000.

    Sorry about the long post, but to summarise:
    Do be cautious about how soon you mention mental problems to the bank (I don't know how it would work with a joint account);
    Does anybody have any experience of the Third Party Mandate?

    Best regards to all. I read your posts with great interest and sympathy.

    Love, Rhoda

    PS: Nothing at all to do with AD, but when my sister's husband died his bank immediately froze his account. All very well, but his Will was stored for safety with the bank, under his name, so also frozen! No Will, no Probate. No Probate, no access to bank account...... Fortunately this was in a small country town and what had been a permanent impasse was solved by rural common sense and a slight bending of the rules.
  2. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    Hi Rhoda,

    Do you have EPA for your partner? The fact that he cannot sign his name is not an automatic bar to doing an EPA, nor is a diagnosis of AD or VaD. Someone else can sign at his direction, but you will need 2 witnesses. I say this because I think you may need this to avoid your withdrawing from his account being called in to question in the future.

    As regards your PS this is not an uncommon scenario. To avoid this chicken and egg situation don't leave your will in a safe deposit box in your name.
  3. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #3 Margarita, Jul 21, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2007
    Yes I have that on my mother account , but I also sorted out being my mother appointee few years back (thank-God ) , so all her pension , attendance allowance update letter come in my name referring to my mother.

    So I have the choice in what ever bank I want the money to go into, so her pension could be pay into my account, but I don't want that .

    I have internet banking on her account and telephone banking with my own ID and password

    I have told my mother bank that my mother has AZ they can't intimidate me saying they freeze the account ( even thought they never said that to me before) because I just ring the pension people asking them to put her money into my account , which I am legally entitled to do .

    but for anyone at the beginning of caring for someone fiancees , get an EPA Or sort out being they appointee, for they benefits and pension
  4. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Rhoda - wish you had posted this some months ago before I went through the 'saga' of mum's accounts being frozen by her bank :rolleyes: (well documented here!!) ......

    Don't know if Sue is coming from the same place I am but if any bankers were reading this they'd be having apoplectic fits at the thought of someone disclosing a PIN - with or without handing over a card ....... I know it's a practical solution and have done it myself in the past (with mum in tow) simply because even pre-dementia she was scared stiff of the technology of cash machines ...... but if the bank were to 'find out' there would be an automatic stop on the card if not the account ..... (I'm amazed at your bank's reassurance that this is not illegal practise - it contravenes general terms and conditions of most banking practise!)

    I used Third Party Mandate on my mother's accounts for years again pre-dementia ...... great in terms of the bank, but of course didn't apply to DWP or anyone else for that matter ....... unless you have some form of attorney registered with the pension provider, only your husband would be able to authorise a change to where his pension was paid ..... With Third Party authority only you could yourself set up a standing order/direct debit instruction on the bank account to transfer monies to the LA.....

    In doing that, only needs an 'on the ball' adviser to recognise your husband is not physically able to make withdrawals whilst card activity is taking place on the account and you could find yourself with lots of problems ...... Third Party Mandate sounds like a minimum .......

    Love, Karen (TF), x
  5. Ashburton

    Ashburton Registered User

    Feb 19, 2007

    We never got an EPA, never even heard of one until I joined this board. My mum has one individual seperate bank account, that has not been touched for a couple of years and will never be touched. We have a couple of joint bank accounts that has an either or signature for transactions. Have never informed the bank of my mums circumstances, we live off our joint account, if I need something for myself individually I use my own bank account, but for day to day living I use the joint account. If this situation works there does not appear a need to inform bank as reading some posts it seems that it would create major hassle.

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