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Concerned about sibling's actions with parent's bank account

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by susywestcountry, May 17, 2015.

  1. susywestcountry

    susywestcountry Registered User

    May 17, 2015
    My father died recently. He had full mental capacity up until the time of his death but didn't apply to put a Power of Attorney in place. He was planning to do so as he had all the paperwork but never signed it. My mother has dementia and has recently moved to a care home. She will now be self-funding as she becomes the sole owner of their house. I am going through my father's financial affairs and have discovered that my brother has been using my father's debit card since his death and has emptied the current account, which had a healthy balance at the date of his death and which is now overdrawn. The account has now been closed and I will pay off the overdraft. I have written off recovering the money due to my father's estate but needless to say I am very upset by this, at a time when I have a lot of bills to settle, including the funeral account. On my mother's behalf, I intend to apply for either a Power of Attorney or if not appropriate to be a Deputy via the Court of Protection to look after her affairs but in the meantime I need to ensure that the same thing isn't happening to my mother's accounts. Has anyone else had issues like this with a sibling? I need to deal with this sensitively. Many thanks.
  2. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    You need to deal with this a fraud!

    Sorry, why are you going to pay off the overdraft?

    You might not have choices when it comes to 'writing it off'

    I'd be getting myself to the bank pronto- explain and hope they don't take it further.

    I really don't see how you can protect your mothers funds any other way until POA/deputyship is in place.
  3. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    This is not a time for sensitivity when theft is involved. You need to give your brother a copy of the statement showing overdraft and ask him to explain and repay.
  4. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    Dear Suzywestcountry,

    I am sorry to read of your loss of your father.

    On top of that, you are also looking after your mother's welfare, your father's estate and now you discover that your brother has stolen from your father's bank account.

    I admire you for wishing to deal with this sensitively - I'm sure there's more background to this, but I don't know that I'd feel so generous-spirited when your brother has caused so much upset by his selfish actions.

    How were your mother's finances being looked after before your father's death? Did he have power of attorney for your mother? And did she have her own bank accounts that you can see paperwork for, even if not legally control at present?

    Equally, did your father leave a will, and are you an executor for his estate? I guess you are paying for these estate debts in order to clear those for now, but you can claim those back later when you have access to the estate funds.

    Sorry, that's lots of questions that you aren't obliged to answer, but which might help in giving you better advice in what to do.

    As Jessbow says, protecting your mother's finances will be difficult before an attorneyship/deputyship is in place, which can take many weeks. In the meantime, who is dealing with things for your mother?

    Your brother has behaved appallingly - I wouldn't deal with him sensitively myself - there's no sensitivity in stealing your own father's burial fund.
  5. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Does your brother have access to your mum's bank/pension accounts? If so, cancel all debit and credit cards, report them as stolen/lost. If the bank allows you to do so apply for new with a different pass code Don't be too sensitive at least let him know that you have discovered what he has been doing, that may be enough to stop him raiding your mum's account.
  6. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    I have no advice susy, but am so sorry that your brother has done this, and left you with the fallout and the worry. What appalling behaviour on his part. I hope you can get everything sorted satisfactorily, good luck xx
  7. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    As an executor for my cousin's estate I had to provide an explanation for all withdrawals from her account after the date of her death, for example some cheques had been written for her private medical bills before she died but not paid in by the payees until later.

    I'm not sure that you can just pay it off. Part of an executor's job is to collect all debts due to the estate from the debtors so that all the assets can be eventually distributed to all the beneficiaries as set out in the will. Is your mum a beneficiary?

    I would certainly be speaking to the bank about this; not really sure why you want to protect your brother from the consequences of his dishonest behaviour?
  8. missmarple

    missmarple Registered User

    Jan 14, 2013
    No advice about dealing with your brother who has acted dishonestly, others have made very good points . But just wondering about the house and whether your mother becomes sole owner. It is worth considering whether it was in joint tenancy, or tenants in common, and if your Dad wrote a will and if so who did he leave it to.
    If it was as tenants in common, he could have bequeathed half of it to you and your brother say. And that half could not be accessed for paying for your mother's care. Just worth considering.
  9. leslee

    leslee Registered User

    Oct 9, 2009
    Tyne and Wear
    I discovered that my brother had taken money from my late mother's current account and challenged him about it. I just got loads of lies and justifications from him. Later I found that the current account was just the tip of the iceberg. Any sensitivity went right out of the window. In total he stole/defrauded Mam of £52,000. If I'd not done anything I'd be kicking myself now

    I was executor of Mam's estate and what Pickles says is true. In the end I had to get a solicitor to try to sort it out and soon after that, the police. He was jailed recently and is still making excuses and trying to justify what he did despite pleading guilty. I felt terrible when he was sentenced and had to remind myself that not only did he show no remorse for taking the money, he'd also stolen and sold my parents' wedding rings and Mam's engagement ring, amongst other things that can never be replaced and showed no understanding of how awful that was.
  10. Moominmama

    Moominmama Registered User

    Feb 2, 2017
    Dear leslee,
    I am currently in the process of unravelling a similar situation. Did the offences happen before your Mother's death? I understand all about the excuses which are offered and all the lies! How much of unravelling did you have to do yourself? Are the police more engaged when the evidence is presented via a solicitor?
    The tip of the iceberg is a good description and a good warning to those who suspect something is going on.
  11. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    #11, Feb 3, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    How terrible for you to discover this. I assume the current ac was a joint ac for your mum and dad which is how he was still able to access it. If the ac was solely in your dad's name then on death the bank would freeze it on being informed and only essential expenses such as funeral with their agreement would be drawn from it. From my experience executor all other bills standing orders etc are held until probate gives executor authority to deal with them. However what your brother has done is absolutely morally and I suspect criminally inexcusable. Assuming he has not had authority to use the joint ac from your mum and she had mental capacity in that event am surprised that when the death certificate was presented to the bank the ac wasn't changed to your mum's sole ac and new replacement cards issued. Your brother has to be made to realise his actions are wrong, he has deprived your mum of much needed care home funds and he must make good and put back into her ac immediately otherwise I would involve both bank and police.
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