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Joint Accounts and LPA

Glee14

New member
Sep 30, 2020
2
Hi everyone, looking for some advice in a situation for a family friend.

Mr A is widowed and meets Ms B, and she moves into the former marital home of Mr A and his deceased wife (despite Ms B having her own place she now rents out).

Mr A, unfortunately, has dementia and after money mysteriously disappearing or being transferred to Ms B without a sound reason Mr A's daughters have gained Lasting Power of Attorney.

Mr A and Ms B have a joint account, and Ms B has regular pops at the daughters about money and attempts to spin a Web with Mr A to get them to fall out (which thankfully doesn't work). However, Ms B has shut the joint account, after moving the money in it to her own account. The account has been closed by the bank with signatures from Mr A and Ms B, without any authority from the daughters (with the POA).

2 questions really:
Firstly, has the account been closed correctly, or should the daughters have been required to sign?

Secondly, what can be done any further to help protect Mr A and his assets from Ms B?
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
580
I think the POA would have to be registered with the bank for the daughters to be able to help. otherwise the bank would not know why it might not be appropriate to close the account. I have no experience with joint accounts as mum was on her own when we began helping her with her finances.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,481
Welcome @Glee14 you'll find friendly support and advice here. Firstly, does Mr A have mental capacity and if so does the POA give permission for the daughters to deal with his finances only when capacity is lost, or with the consent of Mr A whilst still having capacity? If he still has capacity to manage his own finances, and the POA states that the daughters can only deal with his finances when he has lost capacity, then they are currently unable to act as attorneys.

Did the daughters contact their father's bank to inform them that they now hold POA, and register the POA with the bank? If so, what would usually happen with a joint account is that it would be closed and Mr A's money would be transferred to a new POA account in his name which could be managed by the daughters, and Ms B could open an account in her sole name with her share of the money from the joint account. If the POA wasn't registered with the bank by the daughters then there was no requirement for the bank to contact the daughters prior to closing the joint account. If the daughters feel that Mr A is subject to financial abuse from Ms B then that is a separate issue and it may be difficult to prove that Mr A lacked capacity at the time he closed the joint account with Ms B. The daughters should now ensure that they open a POA account in their father's name so that Ms B will no longer have access to his money.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
327
I think @Louise7 is quite right in her analysis. However there could be a much more sinister situation here. Mr. A and Mrs B jointly own the cash in the joint account but she has taken it all into her own personal account. I would smell a rat here. She already had access to the joint account so why did she need to do this? Possibly in order to stop the attorneys from carrying out their roles to act in the donor's best interests. If Mr. A has been hoodwinked, or if he did not have capacity for that decision, this could be a matter for a police investigation. I am speculating of course because we don't have the detailed facts but it doesn't look healthy.
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
3,094
West Hertfordshire
Does the gentleman concerned have worries?

Did he agree to you taking control of finances? Was the POA was drawn up some time ago?

if you have informed the bank that you have POA, then no, they shouldnt' have closed the account. If you haven't- how are they supposed to know?

I'd say it was unusual for someone to have POA on a Joint account- ultimately you act for only half the named people- technically she was as entitled to move the money, as you are on your fathers behalf.
 

Glee14

New member
Sep 30, 2020
2
Thank you for the responses. To answer a few points:

1) The banks have all been notified that the daughters have full POA over all of Mr A's financial matters, and are registered with them for all accounts.

2) Unfortunately, he no longer has mental capacity.

3) As far as we can tell, from a quick look (we will check further) the only money that has gone into the joint account has been from Mr A, and none from her. She has effectively been living off his money and banking her own separately.

4) Mr A is not able to say whether he is worried by this or not due to his confusion when it comes to the finer details, he's just going along with what Ms B says to make things easier.

5) There is a bit of an issue with involving the police as Mr A is an 85 years old gent and limited with his mobility, and he needs the company, but at the same time he does want at least some of his independence and to remain in his home he has lived in since the daughters were the ages of their own granddaughters! The family have found themselves in a catch-22 situation. (I am a police officer so understand both arguments for and against reporting it, it really is an awful situation to be in when we all have his best interests at heart).

6) The POA has been in place for a few years, from when he started to deteriorate. He was in agreement to it being done, and the daughters having control over his financial matters.
 
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MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
327
This does not look good. I can understand the difficulty here, Mrs B is performing a valuable care role. We don't know how much money is at stake and if it is a modest sum you might want to write it off. I would start by making sure as attorneys that you protect all Mr A's income, savings, property etc. by ensuring it goes in accounts that only you as attorneys control. I know the horse has already bolted but there will be some future income at least. As attorneys you are obligated to act in his best interests. Contact any institutions you can think of that might be relevant and make sure they know that he does not have capacity to sign away anything at all. When you have protected his interests against any further loss of funds or assets, you will need to make a very difficult decision about whether to try to recover what has been lost and probably you will need legal advice on that.

If Mr A made a will also try and get it out of the house to a safe place and talk to any solicitor who drafted it. Mr A does not seem to have capacity to change the will so best to ensure you make it difficult in practical terms for anyone to persuade and help him to do so as a future challenge to a change in the will would be distressing and expensive.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
953
High Peak
Where is Mr A's income (e.g. pensions, etc) going now that Ms B has closed their joint account? If it is going into an account in Ms B's name only, she is effectively stealing all his money. She should not have moved all the funds from a joint account into one in her own name either, because Mr A has no access to that account. Again, this is theft.

I'd take legal advice. Get a solicitor to write Ms B a letter, insisting she repays half the funds from the now-closed joint account. And please check where Mr A's income is going now.
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
3,094
West Hertfordshire
So If the dau have had POA ''for some years'' presumably the same daughters consented to Ms B going onto the account/opening the account?


Is Ms B a partner or carer to the old chap?
Would they be considered a couple ? of how many years standing?
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
765
Where is Mr A's income (e.g. pensions, etc) going now that Ms B has closed their joint account? If it is going into an account in Ms B's name only, she is effectively stealing all his money. She should not have moved all the funds from a joint account into one in her own name either, because Mr A has no access to that account. Again, this is theft.

I'd take legal advice. Get a solicitor to write Ms B a letter, insisting she repays half the funds from the now-closed joint account. And please check where Mr A's income is going now.
I recently had a financial review of my own finances. The FA asked me about the one joint account me and my OH have due to the amount that is building up in it. I told the FA that I wasn’t allowed to touch that money as it was only my OH’s state pension that went into it and it would deemed by the LA a deprivation of assets if I used any of it for myself. The FA said the FCA rules are that any money in a joint account can be withdrawn by either of the signatories legally.