Keeping Financial Records with a Continuing POA

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by mumof3, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Hello there

    I wondered if anyone could give the benefit of their experience with regard to keeping financial records. My mother in law who suffers from vascular dementia moved into a nursing home this week after managing to stay at home for almost three years with assistance ourselves and home carers.

    Last week we sent the continuing POA (we are in Scotland) off to be registered and are waiting for it to be processed. Reading the Office of the Public Guardian site it seems as though accounts have to be submitted - of course we have nothing better to think about! On the face of it my MIL's affairs are very straightforward - she gets her state pension, a small occupational pension and care and mobility DLA. She owns her own property outright and so will be self-funding until this runs out - will not take long at £975 per week! She also has a modest amount of savings in a current account - Less than £8,000.

    Despite a bit of forward planning and looking at care homes with my MIL, her admission this week happened as an emergency due to home care arrangements breaking down and we are still coming to terms with the new set up and our new "responsibilities".

    We shall soon have to decide whether to sell my MIL's flat or lease it out and either option will require money to be spent - MIL is a heavy smoker and her flat will need repainting for example. We don't know whether we will be able to access funds from my MIL's bank account to pay for this or whether we will have to carry the costs. Also knowing the amount of cigarettes my MIL usually smokes we can't see her managing on just £20 a week for all toiletries, hairdresser, treats and cigarettes. Are we able to use the money in her bank account to top this up? It's making me dizzy thinking we are going to have to keep notes of everything we spend for my MIL and I hope I'm wrong!

    Would be grateful for anyone's practical experience of how this works.
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,429
    Hopefully someone who has actually done this in Scotland will be along to give you some pointers. The one thing I wanted to mention is that, unless it is totally different in Scotland, that £20 you're talking about only comes into effect when she has spent down her savings and the proceeds of the house sale to below whatever the limit is at that time and is then no longer self funded. Even at that point, those remaining saving can be used for her benefit as you see fit. The only thing you can't do with those savings is pay a "top up" fee to a care home.

    I am reasonably certain that you can use her funds to get her property into a saleable state, although that sort of thing will require record keeping. As to how much record keeping you need apart from that I have no idea but hopefully someone who has experience of the system in Scotland can advise you.
     
  3. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Thanks for that Jennifer. We are actually quite savvy with finances usually but getting to grips with funding residential care seems to require special abilities!

    It's a big relief to be able to buy my MIL the bits and pieces she needs without worrying about sticking to the £20 a week limit at least for the present. We'd gone out this week and bought a portable TV for mum's room, new nightwear and underwear and stocked up on toiletries etc and then I started thinking about whether we have to account for this money being spent and how we will deal with larger expenses in the future. Think I will just make sure I keep hold of all the receipts for now.

    Another thought struck me yesterday. It's my eldest son's birthday at the weekend - he will be 13. Grandma always used to spoil him rotten ( even more so than the younger 2)and her gifts always surpassed ours - often to my annoyance in the past! For the past couple of years we've bought cards for all 3 children which she has managed to sign with prompting and put £20 or so inside which she has got pleasure from giving them. Does anyone know if there be an issue with carrying this on now that we have applied for the POA to be registered?

    Any advice gratefully appreciated.
     
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,429
    Well there wouldn't be in England - the guidelines specifically mention the acceptability of providing gifts for people (relatives etc) as you would have normally. I think it's probably wise not to go overboard (and by that I mean give thousands away (unless of course you have hundreds of thousands to manage)) but my mother normally gave my children £50 - £100 for christmas and birthdays and I continued that.
     
  5. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    Hi Mumof3

    Unless the Scots and English are incredibly awkward I have taken the view that I can do anything that is reasonable with my mum. I keep a little red book and record in it what I spend on mum's behalf. There is typically a cash withdrawal of £20 every 3 weeks which just about pays for hairdressings, there was an extra £10 a couple of weeks ago to pay for chiropody, and last month £10 for a Boots Voucher for grand-daughter's birthday. You say your mum typically gives £100, so fine, what is wrong with that, so my mum's figure is £10 and your's is £100, it depends what is normal for her. I can't imagine the court of protection remotely worrying about such sums, but I record them in the little red book anyway. I don't keep receipts for small amounts. Last week she needed a new watch strap £12.99, we paid, so that went in the red book as owed to us. Every week I buy her two litre cartons of cranberry juice, it goes on our ordinary grocery bill, I put it in the little red book but I chuck the receipts away. Surely no-one is going to query a couple of cranberry juices? Anyway there is loads of stuff that I spend on mum that I forget to record. Last week I went to M&S and bought myself and mum new knickers. I forgot to put that in mum's red book. I don't think the Court of Protection are going to be checking on such items. Where you might need to be careful is where a grandchild gets married and mum gives a donation of £3,000. You need to think if that is the sort of sum she would have given in normal circumstances - and if so then fine. My mum wouldn't have done that, more likely £500.

    Hope this helps to reassure you.

    Love Margaret
     
  6. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Hi Mumof3 - have beat myself up over this in the past. At one time I even did my mum's incidental shopping at a certain local shop because I got an itemised receipt and not just the 'debit card' receipt ......

    Generally saved every receipt and noted what it was for etc and then just marked off mum's bank statement when it arrived and attached it ..... bit like Margaret - also kept a 'book' about 'bigger decisions' (other than whether to buy wholemeal or milk roll - getting a gardener in for an overhaul etc, why I had switched funds between one account and another etc ) just in case I was ever questioned .... but agree, have probably run myself ragged fretting over little things when doing a grocery shop is hardly 'deprivation of assets' .....

    I think I raised a similar question some time back .... and wish now I had bitten the bullet and made some investments in mum's home (out of her money as an investment for her care fees). As it stands it would take a small fortune to bring it up to date as it is not up to standard to be rented out at present if I needed to raise the money for NH fees ....... then again ... could not have had mum live there with changes and improvements going on .....

    As for 'gifts' - my understanding is to 'continue as normal' ... although I know over the last 12 months or so I have 'given' less than mum would probably have done ....... guilt complex? Very hard to be a POA/EPA when you are emotionally involved .... I wonder looking back would I have taken the role on?

    Very difficult ...... sorry if that's no help, but every sympathy ... it's a minefield for anyone with a conscience,

    Love, Karen, x
     
  7. germain

    germain Registered User

    Jul 7, 2007
    342
    Smoking money

    Hi Mumof3

    Our Mum smoked like a chimney BUT after one stay in hospital where she'd been "out of it" for a while she almost forgot that she smoked at all !

    This was a blessing in disguise as the CH she was in of course was non- smoking If residents wanted a ciggie they had to go outside with a carer.

    You may find that because of the circumstances your Mum will smoke far far less than before !

    Not being an anti smoking fanatic here - we took the view that the harm had been done and it would have been cruel to deprive Mum at the age of 85 BUT she was always burning her clothes and setting fire to things !

    regards
    germain
     
  8. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Many thanks everyone. Was getting into a bit of a spin when I read all the requirements of being an attorney but I suppose it's effectively just what we've been doing for the past couple of years anyhow. Probably simpler in fact since the only outgoings apart from hairdresser, clothes and weekly treats and cigarettes will be the nursing home fees. It is a relief to know that we are not restricted to spending £20 a week just yet and can use some of her savings to buy what she needs.

    Thankfully my MIL seems accepting that she needs to be in the nursing home saying her room is nice, the food is good etc although yesterday for the first time she did ask when she was going. She is always sitting in her jacket and has her handbag with her when we arrive too. We did take her to our house earlier this week and I'm not sure now that was the right thing to do in the first week.

    Also, after a full week, mum has not had a shower or her hair washed despite me telling the nurses that she will not do any personal care without prompting and physical assistance with a shower. She can't operate buttons or dials. They just keep saying that they have offered her a shower. Am thinking that maybe they just don't want to push things whilst it is such early days but did wonder how long they would leave things.My mum's main home carer who helped with all her personal care is visiting today so I'm hoping that she will be able to give the staff tips on what works. Somewhat niaively we did think that at least these practical problems would be solved with moving to a nursing home.

    It's funny Germain, we are already seeing that my MIL is smoking much much less as she also has to get a member of staff to go outside with her. There is a smoking room but it's on a different floor to mum's room and she doesn't like being left there. I have told the staff that if mum is agitated to ask her whether she wants a cigarette as at the moment she seems to be smoking 4-5 a day as opposed to 40!

    Thanks everyone.
     
  9. Marianne

    Marianne Registered User

    Jul 5, 2008
    301
    NW England
    Hi
    I had Enduring Power of Attorey with the Court of Protection for almost 3 years.

    Every year around April the courts send for the accounts to be submitted giving you until June to submit them.
    I kept a box especially for odds and ends I bought such as underwear, clothes, toiletries etc. I filed all the receipts from the care home for fees paid, bank statements, pensions

    They will ask you to code. I did a simple Income and Expenditure Accounts and totalled each category giving them a code example Retirement Pension = RP. Attendance Allowance =AA.

    I didn't list each receipt for toiletries I totalled them up for the year. I put hairdressing and food items I bought under Pocket Money =PM.

    There are no hard and fast rules for the coding whatever makes sense for you. I set up a single spreadsheet to do the accounts but whether you do it on spreadsheet or paper make sure it is right before copying it into the Account Sheets.

    I hope this helps if I can help you further please send me a PM

    Good Luck
    Marianne
     
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,429
    Marianne - do you know if this is the procedure in Scotland as well?
     
  11. Marianne

    Marianne Registered User

    Jul 5, 2008
    301
    NW England
    From what i have read on the internet they appear to be very similar.

    Marianne
     
  12. Marianne

    Marianne Registered User

    Jul 5, 2008
    301
    NW England
    When I applied for EPA I did it through a Solcitor.The Courts immediately emptied the bank account and placed the money in the Courts Account.

    When the EPA came through I opened a seperate account which was in my name but acting for my dad. The Courts then put money in this account for me to pay bills and buy whatever he needed.

    The Solicitor paid the home the outstanding fees as by this time I owed about 5 months and he gave me a starting point. When the money in the bank was running low I had to apply for a payment from the court. This wasn't easy to get them to part with money. I had to pay out of my money until I got payment from them. The good point of them having the money was the Interest rates were very good. You will also have to pay Insurance each year. If you want money for anything out of the norm then you have to ask their permission.

    Marianne
     
  13. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Hi Mum of Three,

    I have POA for dad for the last couple of years and just for my own sanity keep a record of absolutley everything. I just write it down when money goes in and out. You can do it in a book or spreadsheet and make a simple Inputs and Outputs list.

    Did the same thing for mum and am so glad I kept a record when it came to dealing with the Probate, just made life easier when you have the emotional pain to deal with.

    My take on it is that it is VERY unlikely that anyone will ask for records; you are supposed (legally) to keep records when you have POA but will only need to present them if there are any queries on your handling of the estate. So the main reason that I do it is to balance the books and to work out when the money is going to run out.

    In theory, you need to contact the social services or local authority at least six months before the money runs out. A simple account spreadsheet is going to make life a lot easier when that time comes. I realise it is different for you, but in the england the local authority pounces for their money.

    It is also worth taking time to work out where all assets are located before you hit the panic stage, it is surprising how many things are hidden away or how many little debts are building up.

    I lost track of things for a while when caring became a priority and money just didn't matter, all I can say is that it took a long time to catch up but it would have been a nightmare without the earlier records. If you have time time, keep a simple book and a big envelope for reciepts.

    Kindest Regards and good luck
    Craig
     

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