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  1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Weds 28 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 28 August between 3-4pm.

    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.

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

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Saun_A, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    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.

    Want to ask a question in advance, or can't make the session? Feel free to post on this thread to be answered during the session. Or if you prefer, send your question to talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we’ll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

    See you there!
     
  2. concerned4

    concerned4 Registered User

    Jun 3, 2012
    50
    Unfortunately unable to make this question & answer as away at the time & unsure about access to Internet.

    Have a couple of questions I would like to ask?

    If a person has been asked to resign by the OPG as financial POA what steps can be taken to recover funds that have been removed?

    Should OPG not report concerns to Police?
     
  3. Taggle

    Taggle New member

    Jun 19, 2019
    1
    Having seen this advice session advertised I would like to ask as I can not join the session live, how would you deal with problems where one member of a POA does things without communicating? I ask this as I am trying not to go down the strict legal route unless necessary as I am worried that would cause that person possibly losing contact with the person being cared for and causing further distress to them.
     
  4. sarah_k

    sarah_k New member

    Nov 13, 2017
    2
    #4 sarah_k, Jun 20, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2019
    I've had to report my sister to Social Services for financial abuse of our Mother, she only recently disclosed that she was 'gifted' £50,000 and I know for a fact that my mother doesn't know the value of it, that she gets confused between £10 and £1000. When I tried to inform my mother she told me off for slandering my sister and that I should be ashamed of myself. Social Services are yet to go and visit my Mother to investigate this, and I'm very concerned that my mother will tell them she 'gifted' this (in order to protect my sister). I know that my mother needs every penny of this for her future care. It's so frustrating too because I'm unable to access her bank account to check up (my sister has full control of her bank account, has ordered new cards so I'm unable to do online shopping for her as I used to, and won't tell me the date she took the money from my mother's account). We are both POAs as well as my uncle who lives abroad, and is in denial about my mother's condition, also tends to take my sister's side (she can be a real charmer, slandering me in the process too). We have emailed between the three of us about where Mum stands financially and that is how I learned about the £50k 'gift' which she never disclosed to me at the time it was supposedly 'gifted'. What else can I do to ensure my sister can't meddle like this again and also to remove her as POA, as she has been so dishonest?
     
  5. tarakins

    tarakins New member

    Mar 15, 2019
    5
    Mum has Alzheimer’s and has recently been turned against me by my younger sister. She wanted to remove me as POA and despite the OPG questioning her capacity they advised me to resign, as putting mum through a lengthy court process would not be in her best interests. My whole family believe that younger sister is coercive and taking money from mum on a regular basis although we have no proof of this being fact. What can we do to protect her?
     
  6. Einstein's bicycle

    Einstein's bicycle New member

    Jun 20, 2019
    1
    #6 Einstein's bicycle, Jun 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    Having found that my fellow attorney has been helping himself to mums current account, using her card which she most likely gave him for him to get the groceries, what types of investigation can be done, and what can of worms, with attendant distress, could be unleashed? Are there any simple investigations I could do myself?
     
  7. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Hi Sam, we have received this question by email:

    Can a mortgage company force you to sell your home if you haven’t got power of attorney for the person who has dementia
     
  8. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Another question by email:

    My mother who has now passed away was financially abused by her husband. He obtained half her savings in Santander, £17,666.50 and made cash withdrawals from her account totalling £8,400 while he had power of attorney for her. However because the total amount involved was less than the likely court costs, approx £30,000 it is not worth my while taking him to court to recover the sums involved.

    A solicitor wrote to him last year asking him for an explanation for the payment of £17.6K given to him by his wife, the points he made to justify the payment were all completely untrue, I have evidence to prove it.

    The difficulty I have is that my mother was married to him for 31 years however she was diagnosed with the early onset of Alzheimer’s ten months before she made the payment to her husband, he therefore financially exploited a very vulnerable woman.

    Is there anything at all that I can do in this situation to recover the funds that he fraudulently obtained ?.


    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  9. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Another question by email:

    A relative has dementia and DWP helped a close relative become an appointee to claim attendance allowance when care needs increased after a hospital stay. The relative with dementia does not have any power of attorney or deputyship existing, does not own property and has one bank account with savings between £10-£20k. The relative has been judged by their psychiatrist as not having capacity. All income is from benefits only ie pension, pension credit and attendance allowance.

    Whilst I do not have concerns that money is being spent inappropriately, there are things that the appointee is not doing that concern me and I would like to clarify the best way to proceed to enable items to be purchased that would improve the relative’s quality of life ie a new comfortable chair and bed as recommended by their specialist nurse. I have asked the appointee to consider purchase of these items but nothing has happened as the relative is the main carer, cannot do everything and is not financially savvy.

    I have investigated applying to be a deputy for the person myself but the costs involved seem prohibitive, as the costs of setting up and running would eat into my relative’s meagre funds. What are the options available to us, given that I understand that banks do not like an appointee to hold large savings in an appointee account but that it is also onerous and expensive to apply for deputyship for a relative small level of savings? I do not know the answer to this question, but suspect that the appointee does not realise that they have to set up a separate appointee bank account and have been using the original account.

    As a larger issue, I think many people may fall into the category where funds in an account are or will become more than banks allow for appointee accounts but that deputyship will be very cumbersome and expensive?
     
  10. GG69

    GG69 New member

    Jun 25, 2019
    1
    Hi,
    My dad (80 years) has dementia and lives with his younger brother who is is 65. They have lived together for about 19 years, during which time my dad's brother has rarely contributed to any bills or done any housework. My dad has constantly bailed him out financially. My dad now has diminished understanding of finances and has a debt to his pension scheme of several thousand pounds due to overpayment previously. He continues to give his brother money every day to buy him a newspaper, cigarettes and food sundries. This is a relatively small amount of money to be spending but somehow he is spending a lot of cash. My dad rarely goes out so does not go and spend on his own. Whenever I visit, there is little to show for any expenditure. In the last two weeks, he has spent over £400. I have spoken to my dad's brother in the past, because my dad used to write down in his diary when he had given him money but he does not do it anymore, and told him not to take my dad's money for himself. He has always said it would stop but it never has. I believe he probably takes money to buy my dad things and does not give the change back. I have reported it to Social Care and they assessed my dad as having capacity (which is incredible as my dad does not know how to get to the bank or how to get money out - he has to get his brother or me to go with him - and does not understand or have any concern about paying his debt to his pension company, nor can he retain any information for very long) and also spoke to my dad's brother who told them that he used to ask my dad for money but does not do it anymore. Social Care then told me that it just appeared to be a family feud and basically it was my word against his. My dad's brother seems to be lying to everyone (he lies about anything to suit himself) and laughing in our faces as he continues to scrounge off my dad. I do not have concrete evidence but there is no other explanation. My dad's brother has had three spells in hospital this year and each time he has been there, my dad has stopped spending so much money, and on his return my dad has started spending again, so there is really only one conclusion to draw. I have POA but this only gives limited powers as my dad can still draw cash from the bank, which he does regularly and often has about £300 in cash in his back pocket. I do not want to apply to the court either as I live quite far away and it would not be practical and in any case my dad would still end up with some cash, much of which would probably go to his brother. His brother is also in debt to their landlord and I believe he asks my dad for money to pay for that too (again, no actual proof but he is on benefits and has very little money). My dad does not seem concerned and just carries on giving him money. My wife has said to just leave them to get on with it as my dad is happy and could not be living in his flat if his brother was not there (even though he does nothing to help and we had to get carers in because his brother did not bother to help him in any way - even didn't remind my dad to take his tablets). I accept my dad's brother has no legal obligation to my dad in terms of providing care. However, it is extremely frustrating and although my dad perhaps used to willingly and knowingly help his brother financially, I believe that his condition now means that he is unable to make sensible decisions about how he manages his finances and that his brother is basically exploiting the situation. I would appreciate any advice, even if it is just to let it go, although I am finding this difficult. Many thanks.
     
  11. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Hi everyone, we are going to start this Q&A in about 20 minutes. Please post questions here if you would like to know about protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse. Sam will join us to answer questions shortly. Thanks.
     
  12. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    A massive welcome to Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) and today's expert for this Q&A. We are honoured to have you with us this afternoon to answer the questions posted on this thread.

    Note to members: Please feel free to post your questions during the live Q&A if you have not had a chance to post them in advance. Or send your questions to talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we’ll be happy to post them on your behalf.

    Over to you Sam!
     
  13. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22
    Thank you, very privileged to be joining you all this afternoon so thank you for inviting me and for those of you that have posted and sent in questions in advance. I will be responding to each in turn and I hope I can be helpful to you
     
  14. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Thanks Sam, that would be great!
     
  15. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22

    Hi thanks for your email. I’ll take each of your questions in turn:

    If a person has been asked to resign by the OPG as financial POA what steps can be taken to recover funds that have been removed?

    In terms of recovering funds this would need to be done through a civil action. This would be taking the case to court yourself and asking the judge to make an order that demands the attorney pays back the money that they have taken. The burden of proof in these cases is on the person that makes the claim, and so you would have to provide clear evidence that shows they have taken this money.

    It’s important to note in civil cases you have to bear the costs initially, so this will include any legal representation and also the court costs and it can be expensive, if you win you may be able to claim all or some of these costs back from the person you are taking to court but this is a matter for the judge to decide. There is more information and guidance available here:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/taking-legal-action/

    https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money

    You can still look at pursuing a criminal charge, and so you can still report the matter to the police and a court may decide that the person is to receive a custodial sentence, community service or to pay a fine, but this would not get the person their money back, you would need a civil case to do this. You can pursue both routes if you wish to.

    Should OPG not report concerns to Police?

    If something that the OPG investigates is thought to be a criminal offence then the OPG must report this to the police. The OPGs own safeguarding policy is clear on this (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-policy-protecting-vulnerable-adults/sd8-opgs-safeguarding-policy#reporting-abuse-to-the-police). Criminal offence here includes theft/fraud and so if an attorney is thought to have committed theft by taking money from the person they are acting as an attorney for then this should be referred to the police.

    If it hasn’t been, someone can ask the OPG why this has not happened, and can even contact the police themselves and ask them to investigate the matter.
     
  16. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22
    Hi

    Thanks for your email.

    This can be tricky. It is hard as where attorneys are appointed to be acting ‘jointly and severally’ they can make decisions and act together or apart and this enables an attorney to act and do things without having to get the authority of other attorneys. This can have practical benefits for day-to-day things, or when an attorney is on holiday, but for some it can cause problems like you are experiencing with communication. As you mention trying to sort this out informally is generally better when this is possible. I assume you have tried talking to the other attorney and this has not worked.

    Some people have found that using the legal duties and responsibilities that attorneys have to do can be a way of helping with some of these problems – and note all attorneys have these duties placed on them. For example, and something not many people realise attorneys under the law (the Mental Capacity Act and its Code of Practice) must keep accounts some people don’t or may just stick all the receipts in a drawer somewhere and forget about them. This can be tricky where there are multiple attorneys and one may be doing most of the day-to-day spending and so the other feels out of the loop – but the duty to keep accounts may help. This is as if a system is put in place where accounts are kept and everything is accounted for all attorney’s should have access to this and it may help with communicating as the attorneys can all follow what is happening. As said this is a legal requirement that attorneys must do and so it is not asking for something that they shouldn’t already be doing. The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice contains the legal duties of attorneys:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/497253/Mental-capacity-act-code-of-practice.pdf

    The bit on keeping accounts is at 7.58 where you will see the other duties too. Therefore, it may be that you can use the legal duties as a way of improving communication I know this has worked for some in the way I describe above in keeping accounts.

    A more formal approach if talking and looking at the duties you all have as attorneys has not worked is to consider mediation. This may feel like a big step but others have found it really useful as it involves an independent person navigating the conversation enabling everyone to have their say and then coming to a joint and agreed outcome. Mediation does require all parties to agree to it as everyone needs to turn up, engage and agree on the outcome for it to work but some people have found this to be useful.

    I’m sure you are aware of the more formal approach, but if you do wish to put in a complaint about the attorney then this would be via the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). They would investigate any complaint, but their prime focus is the best interest of the person and ensuring that the attorneys are acting in the persons best interests. Therefore, in any complaint you would need to show and outline why the attorney is not acting in the persons best interests and fulfilling their duties/role as an attorney.

    I hope this helps
     
  17. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22
    Hi

    I am sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your sister and what has been happening. I am glad that you have raised this with social services and they are looking into the matter – they should be treating this seriously as it is a safeguarding concern and they have a legal duty to investigate and act upon the investigation.

    In terms of her being removed as an attorney, which would mean that she no longer has access to the banks accounts and so can help prevent this from happening again you would need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and put in an official complaint about her as an attorney. The social services may also do this as part of their investigation but you can do this yourself. The OPG can be contacted on 0300 456 0300 and you will need to outline what has happened and provide details about the LPA. They can then investigate the matter and decide what action to take, this can be to apply to the Court of Protection to have her removed as an attorney, or the OPG can decide not to do anything.

    This is more of a side point, but the social services may mention to you something called ‘deprivation of assets’ and this is where someone gives, transfers, gifts etc. money or assets to someone with the intention of the money not being used to pay for care. You mentioned in your email that this is the money that would have been used to pay for your mother’s care and so they may look into this as a deprivation of assets. They can decide to apply to courts to ask them to issue an order to make your sister pay the money back so that if needed it can be used to pay for care. It may not be relevant but I mention this just in case it is, there is more information on deprivation of assets here:

    https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/paying-for-care/paying-for-a-care-home/deprivation-of-assets/#

    Therefore the social services should be looking into this, but you can take the matter to the OPG who will investigate and can decide whether to take action to have her removed as an attorney.
     
  18. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22
    Hi

    I am sorry to hear about what has been happening.

    You ask about how you can protect her, and this is tricky without proof but there are a number of steps that can be taken. I assume from what you have said that it isn’t possible to try and sort the issue as a family informally and so you need to take a more formal approach to protect your mum.

    If it is believed that your sister is taking money from your mum, and being coercive towards her the local social services can investigate this. Where an adult is either at risk or may be at risk of any form of abuse – and this includes financial abuse then the social services have a duty to investigate and if needed take action. Therefore, you can raise this issue with them and they are duty bound under the Care Act to look into this. It is difficult though if there is no proof but they do have to investigate.

    In terms of protecting her in other ways a lot of what you can do may depend upon your mum and what she is happy with. This is as if she has mental capacity to make a specific decision herself then it is her decision to make. For example, some people to protect a relative will have a withdrawal/transfer limit placed on their account, but if she has capacity then she will need to consent to anything like this. This is the same with other things you may consider, if she can consent/refuse then it is her decision, but you can provide her with advice and information to help her to protect herself.

    I completely understand the decision around the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), but as a family you may wish to consider her future finances. I wasn’t sure from your question whether there was another attorney or if you were the only one. If there is another attorney then they can help to protect her (again with her consent when she has capacity) and can continue to protect her if there comes a time when they take over her finances and make financial decisions for her. If by you resigning there is now no LPA in place then as a family you will need to consider what you will do if there comes a time when she can no longer manage her affairs. Legally to be able to manage and access bank accounts you would need a legal power, so if there is no LPA in place you may need to consider applying to the Court to become your mum’s deputy, this can be a lengthy process and is more expensive then applying for LPA, more information can be found here:

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/legal-financial/deputy-dementia

    Alternatively, if your mum doesn’t have a lot of savings or assets, and is on a limited income someone can apply to the Department of Work and Pensions to become her appointee – this allows someone, the appointee to manage any benefits that she is receiving. It doesn’t cover her other money but does allow someone to manage the benefits of a person who lacks capacity to do this for themselves.

    Therefore, you can speak to the local social services and raise a safeguarding concern about the worries you have about your sister being coercive and taking your mums money and they have a duty to investigate. You do need to consider your mums capacity as well and work with her to look at ways of protecting her such as limiting withdrawals and transfers, and do consider as a family what legal powers you will have in the future to help your mum.

    I hope this helps
     
  19. Saun_A

    Saun_A Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    1,446
    Thanks Sam. These are amazing answers to some complex problems. We are so fortunate to have you as our expert today.
     
  20. SamC

    SamC Registered User

    Aug 5, 2013
    22

    Thanks for your query, and sorry to hear about the position you have been put in by your fellow attorney. If you can sort this out informally that would as you highlight be the least stressful, but I understand that this is not always possible.

    To do this informally it would be the case of speaking directly to the other attorney and trying to sort the matter out between you. May help to gently remind them that as an attorney they legally have to follow the law – this is the Mental Capacity Act and its Code of Practice when they are acting as an attorney and making decisions. This includes what is called the ‘fiduciary duty’ and this means that they cannot take advantage of their position and cannot benefit from their position and this includes financial benefits unless it is expenses that are allowed or gifts allowed under the LPA.

    If trying to sort things out between yourselves informally doesn’t work, and reminding him of his legal duties as an attorney has no effect then you need to have this looked at more formally. This is done through contacting the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) on 0300 456 0300 and outlining the concerns that you have. They would then investigate the matter and take appropriate action; this could involve other relevant parties if needed, such as the local authority or police, but could also involve taking it to court to have them removed as an attorney. The outcome and what might happen really does depend upon the situation and what exactly has happened. I understand that this can be distressing to all those involved, but if you are unable to sort this out informally between yourselves then this may be the only route to stopping this from happening and protecting your mum.
     
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