1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Court Of Protection

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by SONNY, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. SONNY

    SONNY Registered User

    Jun 8, 2004
    2
    SONNY
    New Member



    Registered: Jun 2004
    Posts: 0
    COURT OF PROTECTION
    I AM MY WIFES UNPAID CARER AND RECEIVER. THE COURT OF PROTECTION ARE, FROM NOVEMBER 2004 INCREASING THE ANNUAL ENQUIRY FORM THAT IS REQUIRED TO BE COMPLETED FROM 1 PAGE TO 15 PAGES!
    I FEEL A LITTLE UPSET (I COULD USE A STRONGER TERM ) THAT MY ALREADY VALUABLE TIME IS TO BE FURTHER USED TO SUPPLY THE INFORMATION REQUIRED SO THAT THEY CAN JUSTIFY ASKING MY WIFE TO PAY £205 ANNUALLY FOR THIS SERVICE.
    IT SEEMS TO ME THAT I AM BEING USED AS AN UNPAID EMPLOYEE OF THE COURT. IS IT ME?
    ANY VIEWS FROM OTHERS OUT THERE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.


    08-06-2004 01:08 PM
     
  2. Chris

    Chris Registered User

    May 20, 2003
    243
    COP annual fees etc

    Hello This wont be any consolation but 7 years ago , if I remember correctly the annual fees were banded - Mum just fell into the next band and paid over £400 (£450 I think) - every year - until a flat rate came in - for the COP to do nothing more than check my very simple accounts (few transactions as care home fees cover most things) - as the Special Account they put all Mums money in (we had no say or choice in that) needs no management as far as Im aware.

    This year we may have to make withdrawls from the Special Account to top up pensions income to pay care home fees - need to find out soon if COP charge for handling these transactions or if they are covered in the annual fee - probably not! in which case need to work out how much how much needed for the year and just make one withdrawl.

    A couple of years ago we were given illustrated details of posh new offices COP moved to & a raft of very highly qualified staff - non of which we have needed (or never will) - are some clients of the COP subsidising other clients? just as we seem to be subsidising Social Services funded care home residents living in independent sector homes ? or have I got it all wrong - it is the lack of information that fuels these thoughts. A bit more transparency wouldnt go amiss !
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Registered User

    May 20, 2003
    243
    New fees Aaaagghhhh !

    Hello Sonny

    Just looked at COP website and was surprised to see yet another fee structure where some charges have gone up and some down (I havent received notification of these).

    I see that in addition to the annual administrative charge of £220 (now £230) we have to pay for collection and checking of our accounts every year - not previously charged for , now £95. What does the admin fee cover ????

    Recently someone in Alzheimer's Society nat office (at least I think it was our org.???) was collecting views on the COP / Public Trust Office services - maybe it would be helpful if we started spelling out our feelings?

    Here I've cut & pasted the new fees - not copied very well, 1st figure old fee , 2nd new fee. (Big deal the EPA have not increased - they are so high compared to a few years ago anyway!!).

    Is a flat fee for handling Accounts fair ?- as I said Mums are so simple - pensions in, care home fees out - Oh! and winter fuel handout & care home extras - thats it. I'm sure some clients have complex accounts and some will require amendments & work on them. Is this fair?

    Proposed changes to PGO fees in 2004
    The table below shows the fees that would be affected by the proposed changes. all of our other fees remain the same. Please note that we have not proposed any changes to our EPA fees at this time.

    Fee Old fee £ Proposed new fee £
    Commencement fee 70 230
    Receivership Appointment fee 515 300
    Administration Fee 220 230
    Accounts Fee 0 95
    Winding –up 360 275
    Transaction Fees
    Settlement or gift of property
    Carrying out contract or
    Variation of Trust
    (1/4% of Gift Value) (Min-Max) 50-500 100-1000
    Vesting of stock in foreign curator 50 60
    Appointment of New Trustee 120 125
    Statutory will 505 520
    Appointment of a New Receiver 185 190
    Sale or purchase of Property 155 160
    Fees where officer of the court appointed receiver
    Appointment Fee 1,000
    Administration Fee 3,500
    Tax Completion 500
    Winding -up 850


    If you have any queries regarding these proposed fee changes, please write to us at:

    Customer Services
    Public Guardianship Office
    Archway Tower
    2 Junction Road
    London N19 5SZ
     
  4. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Hi

    it has now been made very clear to me why Aunts solicitor advised against lodging the Enduring Power of Attorney we hold with the COP!

    We were concerned that we are supposed to apply if it was felt the person affected was "losing" mental capacity rather than if they already had but the solicitor suggested until a specialist would commit in writing that Aunty was no longer capable then the ball was in their court so to speak!

    I am already keeping the necessary accounts for our own peace of mind and I feel comfortable that I can share any decisions with the second attorney who is not a relative.

    Thank heavens we had the EPA in place!

    Kriss
     
  5. SONNY

    SONNY Registered User

    Jun 8, 2004
    2
    THANK YOU TO CHRIS AND KRISS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. GETTING INVOLVED WITH THE COP WAS A BAD MOVE , WISH I HAD KNOWN MORE ABOUT THE SUBJECT AND SIGNED UP WITH EPA BUT LIKE SO MANY OTHERS I WAS UNAWARE, WASNT TOLD ANYTHING IN THE BEGINNING.
     
  6. betty2

    betty2 Registered User

    Jun 14, 2004
    19
    explain please

    Hi

    as we are just about to organise a EPA with solicitor next week, could you explain what this COP is? Is it something else i should be worrying about/need to do?

    thanks

    Betty
     
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    On the subject of EPAs, I don't think you have the option of deciding 1) not to have one arranged and 2) at the appropriate moment, lodging it with the Court of Protection.

    In fact, if you do not make one, I believe the Court of Protection may do so itself, and appoint someone - at cost - to look after the affairs.

    Their web site includes:

    In what circumstances should an Application be made?

    You should make an application to the Court of Protection when the person concerned (who we refer to as a 'client'):


    a) is mentally incapable of managing their own financial affairs b) has not made an EPA and is now mentally incapable of doing so

    An application for the appointment of a Receiver, although usually made by a close relative or family friend, can be made by anyone who is concerned about protecting the assets of the person with mental incapacity. Legal Aid is not currently available for this work, but a solicitor's costs will usually be met from the client's funds. Almost all dealings with the Court and the PGO can take place by correspondence or telephone to help keep costs to a minimum.

    Certainly my solicitor was the one to advise that we urgently make one, as Jan began to lose her abilities - particularly to write [I was starting to need to forge her signature!]. We made it just in time, and it enabled me/us to access her bank accounts.

    In particular, I was then able to buy her the chair that has made such a difference to her life at the home.

    Another solicitor much later on told me last year that I should have registered the EPA with the Court of Protection some time before. This was not an option, it was necessary.

    I spoke to an incredibly helpful person on the COP helpline and in due course the EPA was registered, though they are over literal in their need to have parts of the paperwork completed and clearly use some people of little brain to process the papers.

    Since then, had I not been able to produce an officially stamped EPA, I could not have used my wife's small savings to provide some extra comforts for her.

    The EPA we arranged was one with absolutely no conditions attached. It is possible to restrict what the authorised person can do. I was glad that I was able to do anything, within reason of course.

    I have not yet been asked to produce accounts, though I log everything in anticipation anyway.

    More info:
    http://www.publictrust.gov.uk/Protection.html
     
  8. Geraldine

    Geraldine Registered User

    Oct 17, 2003
    143
    Nottingham
    Dear Friends

    I became a reciever for Mum's affairs through the Court of Protection in january this year for Mum's affairs. It was necessry to do this because Mum deteriorated so quickley i missed the boat with the EPA.

    While I agree the fees are high I feel comforted that Mum's affairs are now being handled officially through me. I remember a while back a posting from a daughter who I believe had been handling affairs under an EPA only to be criticised by the DSS for spending too much money when the time came to apply for assistance in paying for Nursing Home fees. (I may have got the detail wrong and I apologise to the thread starter if that is the case).

    With that in mind I wrote to the COP with a list of suggestions for expenditure on gifts pocket money and 'rewards' for her close family, mainle her grandson whom she doted on. The COP agreed a higher figure than I suggested. Now when the time comes in about a year when Mum's capital reaches the limit where we can apply for help this expenditure willahve been officially sanctioned.

    Even with the fees I am rather ambivalent because if the money did not go to the COP it would go to Nursing Home fees until the £19,000 limit. Under the unfair fuding system it does not stay in Mum's estate anyway!

    What did annoy me though was the extortionate fees suggested by the COP that Solicitors could charge for setting up a COP. I set it up myself, it was time consuming but once the order was set up fairly simple to administer.

    The Orders now give me easy access to Mum's funds and becuase huge amounts are not involved about half the money and all the income is in a bank account which I control. The rest in Mum's original savings account which I can apply to access when funds are running low.

    regards

    geraldine
     
  9. betty2

    betty2 Registered User

    Jun 14, 2004
    19
    gosh and taxi vouchers

    gosh....thanks for the responses, but know i'm even more confused as there seems to be opposing views.

    I'll guess i'll be adding to it when i come back from solicitor next week.

    i suppose my main question is , if i dare ask,

    why do you need to lodge the EPA with the COP. ( god i have enough acronyms at work everyday without this!) isnt an EPA enough?

    whats the advantage of having an EPA if it doesnt grant you full access ?

    whats the advantage of the COP ?

    my dad is still at stage of being able to understand , sign etc

    looking forward to the responses!

    Just thought i would also mention that we have applied for a Taxi voucher scheme. ( cos dad cant drive anymore) you get £100.00 of taxi vouchers per year throught local council ( doncaster) dont know if they run this anywhere else but might be worth checking.its on a first come first served basis, so, handy if you've got a daughter that wont budge , but as usual I bet the most needy loose out. (might take that up with them.)

    thanks

    betty
     
  10. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Betty

    yes, confusing, isn't it? And I'm no expert, though I have sought to find out as much as possible in the interests of Jan.

    I have had advice from two solicitors, as well as the Court of Protection [Public Guardianship Office].

    "why do you need to lodge the EPA with the COP."

    Why not contact the Public Guardianship Office and ask for their book on the subject - it is free. You can also download it from http://www.publictrust.gov.uk/documents/epa.pdf

    The booklet says:

    If someone is setting up an EPA we will provide advice on how to go about it.

    We become involved when a person has lost or is losing their mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs, At this point an attorney must register the EPA with the Court of Protection.


    "whats the advantage of having an EPA if it doesn't grant you full access"

    Again, I quote:

    "An EPA is a legal process in which you hand over to someone else the power to decide what is done with your financial affairs and property. The person you appoint as your legal representative is known as the 'attorney'. They can use the power straight away if that is what you want. Or you can make clear that the EPA is only to be used if you become mentally unable to manage your affairs in the future."

    The EPA form itself says:

    "2. If you give your attorney general power in relation to all your property and affairs, it means that they will be able to deal with your money or property and may be able to sell your house.

    3. If you don't want your attorney to have such wide powers, you can include any restrictions you like. For example, you can include a restriction that your attorney must not act on your behalf until they have reason to believe that you are becoming mentally incapable; or a restriction as to what your attorney may do."


    So, the restrictions are mostly to add further protection, which is what the EPA is all about, really.

    "whats the advantage of the COP "

    The advantage of the COP, as I see it, is that they provide legal protection for the interests of the person with dementia. Not everyone will necessarily act in the true interests of the subject, and in their very vulnerable position, they require maximum protection.

    It seems to me that it also protects the attorney, should they seek to use the subject's resources an some way that might later be challenged. [what about those people who don't visit the patient and leave you to look after the visits and all their affairs, then, when the will is finally read, suddenly appear and accuse you of using their money....?]

    Before an EPA is registered, close family needs to be formally notified.

    The disadvantage of registering the EPA is that a level of administration and cost is [necessarily] introduced.

    You will find that banks, the Benefits Agency, pension schemes, nursing homes etc will probably need to see a certified or office copy of the registered EPA before they will act using the subject's resources.

    In order to purchase Jan's new chair, I needed to show a registered EPA in order to release the not insubstantial money from her account.

    "my dad is still at stage of being able to understand , sign etc
    "
    This was the point when my solicitor strongly advised setting up the EPA since the loss of ability can come surprisingly quickly and if you have not set things up before time it may be too late, and to do this stuff late on is even more trouble.

    Good luck with the vouchers!
     
  11. betty2

    betty2 Registered User

    Jun 14, 2004
    19
    thanks bruce

    bruce

    what a lot of time and effort you put in for us all.

    thank you so much.

    will let you know the outcome next week.

    betty
     
  12. Sally

    Sally Registered User

    Mar 16, 2004
    114
    London
    Can I just add that any solicitor who advises a person not to 'lodge' (register) an EPA with the Court is giving out very poor advice since the EPA is only technically valid once it has the Court of Protection's stamp upon it.
    Someone can only sign an EPA if they know what they are signing ie they understand what an EPA is and could explain it to someone else. If a solicitor feels that the person does not understand, they should not go ahead with the EPA.
    They will then need someone to apply to become their receiver, this is when a medical certificate is needed from a doctor to say 'This person has a mental health problem which affects their ability to handle their own money'. This system is more expensive but allows the receiver the same access to finances as it would if they had been appointed by an EPA.

    Sally
     
  13. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Hi again!

    to clarify our position to date - Aunty made the EPA with the solicitor when she was fully competent mentally - she had had physical problems (speech etc) which I think prompted her "to get things sorted" - she was an extremely intelligent and active person prior to the illness taking hold.

    It is now - following a recent rapid decline mentally, seemingly triggered by mini strokes, that we are in the process of lodging the EPA anyway. We have reached a point where we are now facing decisions that she now would not be able to make herself - previously everything we have done was either already initiated by her or she had instructed that we do for her. For our own peace of mind alone we feel the expense is justified. Her consultant has advised that the COP would write directly to him if they require details of her condition. We now accept that our concerns over her health have been confirmed as irreversable - perhaps previously we hoped we were wrong and were just delaying the inevitable.

    I would however debate the fact that the EPA is only technically valid if stamped. It is an extremely powerful document that once raised need only be used as evidence when dealing with the donors affairs. The original should be retained securely preferably by a solicitor who will issue "verified copies" when required.

    Kriss
     
  14. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Kriss

    Certainly, before my Jan became very advanced in her dementia, the verified copies of her unregistered EPA were sufficient.

    I don't know whether there have been any changes in procedure, but recently, the building society, for example, has been unwilling to accept anything other than a registered EPA.

    My understanding is that once someone has gone past the stage of being able to comprehend their financial affairs, the EPA must be registered.
     
  15. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Thanks Bruce

    the forms are in the post as we speak!

    I did have different experiences between different banks and building societies. Nat West were the easiest and actually had staff available who knew what it was all about (and you could even speak to the right person on the phone!!!), Abbey National coped with it all efficiently and HSBC have dragged their feet throughout the whole process.

    All accepted the verified copies with varying degrees of form filling and identity checks. I feel deeply for anyone already struggling with day to day care and without the background that I have in Accountancy having to have to deal with these things on their own.

    Once again we move on to the next step! Watch this space...

    Kriss
     
  16. Beth

    Beth Registered User

    May 10, 2004
    5
    Bedfordshire
    The whole thing sounds extremely confusing to me. We are also looking into Court of Protection for my dad as he is not in a position to handle his own affairs. We need to do it fairly urgently as the family home needs to be sold because my mum can no longer manage it's upkeep and maintenance.

    It seems to me however that COP will result in an infringement on my mums privacy as my understanding is that all expenditure will need to be disclosed. My parents have never had separate interests, everything has always been joint.
     
  17. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hello all,

    I haven't visited for a while but this subject is something that is quite relevant for my family at the moment. We had an EPA drawn up a few years ago and at a recent assessment the psychiatrist advised us to put it into place soon. Apologies if this has already been made clear, but I am unsure what the difference between not having an EPA and having to go to the COP and having one and needing to have it registered with the COP is?

    We're not really sure what we're meant to be doing!
     
  18. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Emma

    as far as I understand, the best situation is - as you have done - to draw up an EPA when the subject is able to do that, then, at the appropriate time, register it formally with the Court of Protection.

    If one is too late to have the EPA understood, agreed and signed by the subject at the earlier stage, it becomes more of a procedure to get the EPA made, and - though I have no knowledge of this - I think this may be where the Court of Protection needs itself to appoint an attorney.

    To answer your last point, I think, from the sound of it, that you should be registering the EPA with the COP now.

    Why not call their help line? I found the person there tremendously helpful, and he sent me the relevant forms [these were forms to register the EPA, not the EPA forms themselves], and answered loads of questions I fired at him.

    For me, the process of registering the EPA went very smoothly.
     
  19. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Thanks Bruce. You don't happen to know the phone number do you as my parents are unsure what bits and pieces they need to send to get the EPA put in place.
     
  20. carol

    carol Registered User

    Jun 24, 2004
    196
    Surrey/Hampshire
    Public Guardianship Office tel. no.
    general enquiries 0845 330 2900

    EPA help line 0845 330 2963

    They also will supply a free handbook on EPA's or you can view it or download it from www.guardianship.gov.uk
     

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