Financial abuse - help please

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by carer54, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    Our dad (84) has dementia and has been living in his own house with his son in between trying out residential care. He is currently in self-funded residential care but his money is running out. He is in receipt of attendance allowance, a state pension and a small pension from his employer so he should have enough money to pay his own care.

    The problem is, his son, while living in our dad's house, pays nothing towards the utilities, rent and council tax. So, essentially our dad is paying for his own residential care and his son's upkeep.

    In 2014 our dad went into the local bank on several occasions to ask for a loan for his son. His request was refused and so the son took out an online loan with the same bank in my dad's name. Our dad does not have any computer skills, in fact the Internet connection is paid for by our dad and the son uses it while he lives in our dad's house.

    Our dad has another 4 years at over £100 per month to pay on the online loan and he doesn't remember taking it out. He is petrified that he owes money and cannot pay for his own care.

    I think our dad has been subjected to fraud and is being financially abused by his son. I don't have power of attorney, whereas, my siblings do. We all feel very intimidated by our brother who seems to have staked his claim in our dad's house.

    I have contacted adult safeguarding but have been told we have no proof of fraud, that the loan could be perceived as a gift.

    Time is running out for our dad to be able to afford his residential care. Any advice would be very welcome.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,740
    Female
    London
    Have your siblings registered the POA with the bank and told them that said brother cannot act for him? Or is he one of the attorneys? Sorry, but your mention of "his son" versus brother and "our siblings" is a little confusing. Whoever has POA has to act in someone's best interest ie protect him from fraud and not defraud himself. Taking out a loan in someone else's name sounds very fishy.

    Is this brother even on the tenancy agreement? He seems to just scrounge his way through life. I am afraid you will have to get firmer with your brother and insist he either pays his way or moves out.
     
  3. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    Thank you for your reply.

    My siblings do have POA with the bank. Our brother (dad's son) does not. I don't have POA but I am determined to see that justice is done for my dad.

    We are not sure if a tenancy agreement exists. My mum died in 2009 and we can't even find her Will let alone know what 'agreements' may or may not exist for my brother.

    Things have got so bad that even my dad's dog has had to go into kennels while my dad is in residential care. My brother won't even look after his dog.
     
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,815
    UK
    If your other brothers have PofA, then how is this particular brother living, that is to say how is he paying bills, utilities for the house. Is your father in the care home permanently. Has your father at any point said that this son is taking all his money-a statement like this would start an investigation into financial abuse and if the home care think there is something 'fishy' going on, they could start the ball rolling. I get the feeling from your post that this brother is intimidating. The person/s holding PofA could solve most if not all these problems, by taking control, of course easier said than done, especially if bullying and selfish tactics are in play.
     
  5. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    My 2 sisters have POA. To the best of my knowledge my brother isn't paying any bills or rent even though he is in employment. My dad has been in and out of care. He goes home when his money gets low. He is paying for his residential care, and, everything at his house. I have told both care homes about the situation, and a social worker. My dad is very confused and worried about his finances. He cannot remember taking out an online loan, for example. Yes, my brother is very intimidating and aggressive.
     
  6. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    8,088
    Yorkshire
    #6 Shedrech, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
    Siblings, eh! Can be much more difficult to deal with than strangers.
    How tough are the Attorneys willing to be? They have full responsibility to act on behalf of your dad, indeed a duty to do so.
    If this man were a lodger, I doubt you all would have any compunction in stopping all the bill payments and contacting the landlord (I assume your father doesn't own the house) - so just do that. It would be done if your dad had lived on his own and moved out.
    IF the son then wishes to continue in the house as tenant he simply has to organise payment of bills himself - that's up to him. Maybe a letter to him outlining what has been done (afterwards!) could be sent so that he knows he must act or take the consequences ie be cut off from all services ....
    Talk to the bank manager and have all internet access to your dad's finances stopped and future access only for the Attorneys. It sounds as though the bank have already acted in your father's best interests by refusing him a loan - so I would thank them and take it from there.
    None of this would need anyone to deal with the son face to face. And if you don't have access to bills etc begin with a postal redirect.
    PS surely if your dad's finances are below the various thresholds for self-funding there should be an LA financial assessment carried out to organise the funding for his care home bills. Clearly he doesn't feel that his house is the right place to be or he wouldn't go into the care homes. Or am I missing something?
     
  7. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    My dad owns his own home but doesn't need anymore stress in terms of asking his son to pay his way. From past experience my brother won't pay the bills so I was hoping for legal advice about cutting off services, etc. How do I push my siblings to be firmer POAs without causing more stress? Thanks for the heads up on the LA financial assessment. I am sure he has had an assessment for home care but due to owning his own home had to be self-funded. I will ask about a new assessment for residential care.
     
  8. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,740
    Female
    London
    It isn't your dad that should be having the stress, but the attorneys have a duty to act in his best interest so simply have to act firmer. Sorry, you were mentioning rent so we assumed there was a landlord. If your dad is now in permanent residential care, it should be simple - put the house on the market so it can fund his care. Get a solicitor to send a letter to the brother saying he has to move out unless he starts paying rent and bills, and only until the house is sold, so he better start looking elsewhere soon.

    There are scenarios that say carers should not lose their home if the cared for goes into a home, but as he never really cared for him anyway, that shouldn't wash. Has your brother ever lived elsewhere or has this always been his home? The latter could become problematic if he clues himself up about discretionary disregard.
     
  9. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    My dad has just this week gone into another care home (the 2nd). We have thought about getting a solicitor involved so thanks for the advice.

    My brother has not been my dad's carer, quite the opposite. He has lived with a lady friend but moved back into my dad's when we started to ask questions about who lived where (my brother was still using my dad's house for washing his clothes, using the Internet, etc). Not sure about discretionary disregard?
     
  10. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,815
    UK
    If only the PofA would just stand up and do their duty, you would not need to involve a solicitor and the first thing they could do is change the locks, have all post redirected, inform council that the house is presently vacant and if you can face it, find a charity to rehome the dog. All this drip dripping away of money is depriving your father of comfort and peace of mind he deserves, but how the hell can you convince them to stand up to a bully!?
     
  11. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    8,088
    Yorkshire
    I'm sorry to say that I don't see a way of dealing with this which will not be stressful - the whole financial situation being Attorney for a parent with dementia is full of stresses.
    Unless you are all willing to let the son stay in the father's home free gratis and let things fall apart - which to me will be more stressful.
    Your dad need know nothing of what is going on in the background on his behalf - or is the implication that the son will visit and inform your father?
    You yourself gave this thread the title Financial Abuse - that is strong wording, and if it is really what you and your sisters believe then they have a duty to act.
    If all bills and the house are in your father's name then the Attorneys can deal with them. If you chose to let the son stay until the house is sold, fair enough.
    If absolutely necessary get the locks changed when the son is at work - if he is in employment he can pay for B&B. Probably best if it doesn't come to that.
    My understanding is: the discretionary disregard from the LA can come into play if a close family member over 60 has been resident long term in the house - so that it need not be sold immediately making them homeless, but charges do build up until it is sold. Have a look at other threads which do deal with this aspect of finances.
    Maybe you could go back to the solicitor who did the POAs for your father and discuss the situation?
     
  12. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    Financial abuse

    Hi, sorry to hear of the trouble you are having. You have to detach yourself from the 'being a relative' in respect of the brother, as he obviously has in respect of your father and his care.

    Personally, I would consider him more of a squatter, he can't illustrate he is there to even look after the dog, who I really feel sorry for and agree should be rehomed too. Try to contact the CAB even by email and they may advise you.

    Personally, I think I would send him a letter giving him seven days notice to vacate the house, cut off all services by using POA especially Internet as that would annoy him most I would imagine. If he does refuse to move out maybe ask the police to accompany you to evict him. It won't be pleasant but you have to see it as a means to an end. I agree your father doesn't need to know what's going on.

    Change the locks as soon as he's evicted. When you do evict him try to leave your phone on record in your hand so you have a record of conversation without him knowing in case of any comebacks. You have to do this for your own sanity and your fathers wellbeing.

    When he took out the loan was he with his partner, if so does she know anything about it? Has he mentioned it to her? If you don't sort this now after your father has died, which I hope isn't for a long time, you will have a more complicated battle on your hands as it sounds like brother wants everything. You can get a copy of a will from a records office but I know that's only if over a certain monetary value. Is you Dad not in a position to tell you in general conversation what your mums wishes were?

    The best advice I can give you whenever you are dealing with this type of problem is keep a diary. You think you will remember but you won't. Diarise everything and then if it does get legal it's already written down to refer too etc.

    Good luck to all of you.
     
  13. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    Thanks, we are on the same page.

    I'm going to the CAB in the morning. We have asked our brother to pay his way in the past, which he hasn't, so I think eviction would be the best possible solution - probably easier said than done as I don't have POA.

    I am not sure if our brother was with his partner when he took out the loan. They said they had parted for a time but are now back together.

    My dad should not have to pay for an Internet connection that has been used to set up an online loan in his name. He does not know how to switch on a computer!

    My dad has been very distressed about his finances, which brings into question what has been said while he was at home. I am very relieved that he is now in a place of safety. We had to reassure him that he can afford a daily newspaper to be delivered in the care home!

    I can't ask my dad what my mum's wishes were, he is too confused. I do remember my brother signed a Will to say he would have to leave if anything happened to my parents. We can't find the document and have been to all of the local solicitors in the town who have no record and it's not on the national database (we made these enquiries in 2009 just after my mum died). We now think the Will was setup by an independent company in the 1980/90s.

    The sad thing is our dad trusted his son and that is why things have got so bad. This would not have been tolerated if it had been anyone else.

    None of the professionals I have spoken to, eg Adult Safeguarding, seem to have any power to change things so I expect I need to push them harder.

    I will make this my last post as it is clear what needs to happen. Thanks to everyone for your advice.
     
  14. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    This is an update to my last post as things are starting to happen...

    Dad has been assessed by Community Mental Health Team who said it is best that he stays in the care home due to his memory problems.

    I have contacted Adult Safeguarding who inform me and POA that we need to get dad's consent even before he can have a capacity assessment.

    Just found out dad's social worker closed the case in July without communicating the decision to me and POA.

    Meanwhile son is still in house and allowing it to deteriorate affecting its market value ( dog poo left from 4 weeks ago and yellow walls and smell from smoking, used for storage of girlfriends belongings).

    We are in the process of setting up a best interests meeting at the care home, having another social worker assigned and the bank is looking into the fraud of son setting up an online bank account and loan in dad's name (they are likely to pursue fraud in terms of themselves being deceived as to whom claims to have set up the account, so the matter is apparently out of our hands) - POA not keen to pursue this.

    Is there any more I can do as a non POA and daughter?
     
  15. In a Whirl

    In a Whirl Registered User

    Feb 23, 2015
    62
    Without a POA yourself it might be difficult to do more.

    However your Dad will need to undergo a financial assessment to work out his contribution towards care home fees. As he is cash poor but asset rich ie the house, his attorneys will have 2 options: raise the money or sell the house.

    If they sell the house the price will reflect its condition & attorneys are obliged by law to do everything they can to care for your Dad's property & maximise your Dad's income.

    Maybe that argument may alter their current thinking.:)
     
  16. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    I am disappointed to hear on Look North (Peter Levy) this evening that another person with dementia has had a bad experience with the bank, this time in a Hull. More should be done to protect vulnerable people. I haven't heard back from this bank!
     
  17. tryingmybest

    tryingmybest Registered User

    May 22, 2015
    625
    Female
    I didn't see it but it seems to me in my experience, that there are no laws or anything to protect the vulnerable from financial abuse or any other abuse in fact. The police do nothing even though they have safeguarding departments for vulnerable adults and as for social services recognising a problem - well dont get me started on that one!! X
     
  18. carer54

    carer54 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    9
    Lincolnshire
    It's getting late but I think Look North reported the Alzheimer's Society is supporting the case.

    Financial abuse criteria are clearly listed online, yet in practice it seems those who exploit the elderly and vulnerable (irrespective of capacity assessments) can get away with it.
     
  19. happyhacker

    happyhacker Registered User

    Aug 11, 2014
    25
    Go to www gov uk/report-concern-about-attorney-deputy. If you think the POA is not doing it's job.
     
  20. barry6521

    barry6521 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2015
    37
    northamptonshire
    Hi Would it be possible for any of you to change your dads bank log in details? so the son get into it
     

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