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Lacking capacity for H&W but retaining capacity for Finances

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
Hi all. Wondering whether it is fairly common for someone to be deemed to have capacity for their finances but not for their own health and welfare? Somehow I expected it to be the other way around. Not only that but when a person is unable to actually take care of their finances anymore and has become reliant on someone else helping I don't understand how they can be deemed to have capacity. Social Worker said it is a problem as they have to strictly adhere to the Mental Health Act and to pass the financial capacity assessment all that is effectively required is that the person is able to remember the question long enough to answer it, even if the answer is wrong. So for instance 'how do you pay for the shopping that someone else does for you'. Answer 'I pay by cheque'. No shopping has ever been paid for via the writing of a cheque since the person had their driving licence revoked and was unable to shop for themselves which is approximately 3 years ago. The other thing that is unhelpful is although the LPA for health & welfare has become active for the attorney, when someone has sufficient savings that they need to pay for their care but don't recognise they need care and aren't willing to pay for it . how does the attorney ensure they are taking care of someone's care needs? All seems back to front to me. Does anyone have any experience of this and is there an 'average' sort of timescale from loss of Health and Welfare capacity to losing financial capacity as well? Wondering whether likely to months or could be many years.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
I dont think the SW understands how to conduct a capacity test.
It isnt just a question of being able to remember a question long enough to give any old answer - they have to be able to understand the question and give a reasonable answer. I think the SW muddling the point that they only have to understand in the moment and it doesnt matter if they then forget.

Does the POA for your mum have a clause that it can only be used once she has lost capacity? Most POAs do not have this and can therefore be used as soon as it has been registered at the OPG, so you can go ahead and register it at the bank and start paying for things for her.

If the POA says that you can only use it once she has lost capacity then this is a bit of a pain and I suggest that you try and get someone else to assess her capacity. The solicitor who drew up the POA might be able to help, or you can get independent capacity assessors.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
The Financial LPA can be used straight away, however, with agreement only. The problem therefore is although care needs have been identified by both myself and the Social Worker, Mum doesn't agree that she needs care, nor does she wish to pay for it. So this potentially causes a big problem. How do you get care in, thereby fulfilling your duty under the active H&W LPA when person is in denial over needing care and refusing to pay for it?
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
PS I did speak to someone at the OPG. They recognised the problem and said that you have to look towards the 5 principles which included being able to show / evidence that you have discussed with the donor and gained their approval. I find this a very grey area.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
Unfortunately, when someone with dementia is asked whether they want to do something, or are willing to do it, the default answer is "no". If you want to wait until they agree, then you will wait forever.

Just get on and do it
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
Unfortunately I have in the past got on and done things, with permission and then been accused of all sorts including stealing a car which in reality had just been trying to sell and never even used myself ! A rarely seen family member called in Social Services Safeguarding as well as the Police. All was cleared up but it does leave you frightened. Things such as paying bills, ordering up heating oil, etc, have been doing for a long time now as Mum just doesn't get done.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
Things such as paying bills, ordering up heating oil, etc, have been doing for a long time now as Mum just doesn't get done.
If you are already doing this then registering the POA with the relevant parties puts all of this on a much more legal basis.
Start off by registering the POA with the bank and utilities, then gradually take over. Then you will be in a position to introduce care when it is much more urgent. If you dont do this then you will be scrabbling around playing catch-up in a crisis.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
BTW, Im sorry to hear about the relative, who obviously took the things that your mum said at face value. I hope he/she was put in their place. Such relatives are known on here as helicopters - they arrive out of a clear blue sky, make a whole lot of noise and blow a whole load of dirt around, then disappear just as suddenly and leave you to clear up the mess.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
Hi Canary, they certainly do. Not a clue about either the reality of the sheer number of hours you freely put in, day after day, week after week, year after year, regardless of the mood swings encountered ! They really don't have a clue, regularly 30+ phonecalls a day, phone calls in the middle of the night, so much they don't have a clue about.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
Has anyone else encountered a person being deemed to not have capacity for health and welfare but still having capacity for finance. As said previously I found that very odd as was anticipating the health and welfare would either come at the same time or afterwards, particularly with Mum as it is things like finance she has struggled with the longest and as far as I am concerned lost the ability to do, yet keeping herself clean, feeding herself albeit more recently rather than doing a proper meal (proper meal includes ready made meals in the microwave) making herself sandwiches. I've spoken to a range of people involved with care and they have seemed shocked at this way round too
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,652
66
Toronto, Canada
@Savannah do you think you can get your mother agree for you to pay bills, etc. If she agrees, I would take that as an opportunity to pay for the care. Then I would lie through my teeth about the care, saying that these are students, and need to get practice before they can start a job or anything similar. Do you think that would fly?

Yes, creative lies are a thing.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
So your mother's financial LPA can be used immediately, if she agrees, OR when she has lost capacity.
I have limited experience but I've never heard of anyone losing capacity for H&W before L&F.
If you believe she has lost capacity for L&F then this is what needs to be confirmed.
Does the social worker's manager agree with her? Or is there someone else who can decide capacity? Consultant? Independent (private) social worker? I don't know the answer but there should be a way to pursue this. Good luck.
The Social Worker has assured me she has gone higher. She says that she isn't alone in feeling that she is helpless, looking in from the outside and seeing unecessary suffering occur due to being tied to the restrictions the Mental Health Act imposes
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
@Savannah do you think you can get your mother agree for you to pay bills, etc. If she agrees, I would take that as an opportunity to pay for the care. Then I would lie through my teeth about the care, saying that these are students, and need to get practice before they can start a job or anything similar. Do you think that would fly?

Yes, creative lies are a thing.
Yes, Mum has long been agreeing that I take care of payment of bills as she can't remember how to do it. She can't even remember how to pay a cheque in. Few months ago I received a phone call from her bank. They had spent two days going through all the people on their system with the same name as Mum and there were a considerable number as a very common name. Mum had posted a cheque into them with an accompanying letter asking them to pay into her account. The problem was that she didn't write her address or her account number so the Bank didn't have a clue which bank account to credit it to. It wasn't a small sum either at around £350. The bank requested this doesn't happen again given the resources they had to use to establish who to pay to.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
Yes, Mum has long been agreeing that I take care of payment of bills as she can't remember how to do it. She can't even remember how to pay a cheque in. Few months ago I received a phone call from her bank. They had spent two days going through all the people on their system with the same name as Mum and there were a considerable number as a very common name. Mum had posted a cheque into them with an accompanying letter asking them to pay into her account. The problem was that she didn't write her address or her account number so the Bank didn't have a clue which bank account to credit it to. It wasn't a small sum either at around £350. The bank requested this doesn't happen again given the resources they had to use to establish who to pay to.
So your mother's financial LPA can be used immediately, if she agrees, OR when she has lost capacity.
I have limited experience but I've never heard of anyone losing capacity for H&W before L&F.
If you believe she has lost capacity for L&F then this is what needs to be confirmed.
Does the social worker's manager agree with her? Or is there someone else who can decide capacity? Consultant? Independent (private) social worker? I don't know the answer but there should be a way to pursue this. Good luck.
 

Savannah

Registered User
Nov 25, 2018
44
My Mum frequently phones the bank demanding that her bank statements are sent to her. I have personally overheard several of these conversations with Mum getting really angry when they confirm her address and they confirm that is where they are being sent. I even show her the statements with her address on them, point out the date of the statement and the current day, when the next one is due, etc but still she argues that they are not being sent to her and they should be. It is only as a result of myself locating her post and putting it into the relevant files that I am able to provide the evidence to her as otherwise things are left in all sorts of weird places. She is still able to find the telephone number of the bank and she is still able to answer the security questions. I know what these security questions are and they all are ones that go way back to her childhood so she is still able to pass security measures even when not remembering things said to her just minutes before. Without knowing the answers, given I know my Mum so well I could accurately guess the answer to any security question. Sadly, even the guy at the OPG who spent a long time on the phone establishing the facts confirmed the Social Worker was correct. It may be worth me ringing again and see if someone else answers and gives me a different take on this
 

Veritas

Registered User
Jun 15, 2020
61
@Savannah It seems to me that if the social worker thinks your mother has capacity to decide whether to pay for care or not, but does in fact need it and doesn't have capacity to refuse it, the care in question should be provided on the basis that as and when she no longer has financial capacity the Council will be repaid. I completely fail to see the logic of agreeing that care is required but at the same time telling you that you don't have the authority to spend her money on it even though it's in her best interests.

If you're worried about the helicopter returning and creating more chaos, perhaps you could take the bull by the horns and discuss your dilemma with them and other members of the family, and see what they say. If any of them agrees that your mother shouldn't have to pay for what she doesn't want (but does need) you could press them a little on the question of how else is she going to get the required support - perhaps the helicopter could help?! I know, the pigs were last seen flying over Croydon, but at least you can say you tried and kept them informed. The critical thing is not to make this decision entirely alone.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
220
Has anyone else encountered a person being deemed to not have capacity for health and welfare but still having capacity for finance. As said previously I found that very odd as was anticipating the health and welfare would either come at the same time or afterwards, particularly with Mum as it is things like finance she has struggled with the longest and as far as I am concerned lost the ability to do, yet keeping herself clean, feeding herself albeit more recently rather than doing a proper meal (proper meal includes ready made meals in the microwave) making herself sandwiches. I've spoken to a range of people involved with care and they have seemed shocked at this way round too
It must be possible if unlikely. Someone might be able to deal with paying the plumber and the gas bill whilst not being able to understand the consequences of decisions on health. But in your case this is really only one decision. Either she has care and pays for it, or she doesn't have the care. So as every decision is separate, someone has to assess whether she has capacity for this decision, and either she has of she hasn't, and it involves both health and wealth. I would be inclined to involve someone who is objective and independent in assessing her ability to make this decision, preferably someone with a qualification. That might put you in a better position if anyone doubts the decision made for her, if she doesn't have capacity.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
I still think that it would be a good idea to check her capacity by getting an independent SW, or a capacity assessor in. I know that it would have to be paid for, but I think it would settle your mind @Savannah
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
220
I still think that it would be a good idea to check her capacity by getting an independent SW, or a capacity assessor in. I know that it would have to be paid for, but I think it would settle your mind @Savannah
I agree. If you or anyone has any tips on how to find an independent capacity assessor it might be valuable if posted here. I don't need this right now but had some difficulty over whether my mother should go into a care home. In the end I persuaded her to agree so it was solved but if I had failed, her wishes might have had to be overridden.