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Looking For Some Practical Advice On My Legal Position, etc

Jim 47

Registered User
Jun 7, 2008
4
Scotland
Hi!
I hope you'll bear with the fact that I'm new to this.
My situation is that my Mum lives in North East Scotland (& I'm an ex pat Scot living in Sheffield) & a month ago she was sectioned & taken to the local mental hospital for assessment. Having talked to her psychiatrist, they've done a brain scan & seem pretty certain that she has Alzheimer's. Their prognosis is that she will end up in a care home & as a result of this, they consider that they will apply for a Guardianship Order, which will then lead to the State attempting to obtain a "resettlement" for some of the costs of the funding of their care costs. Does anybody know the cut off point for this in Scotland (as all I've seen are for England & Wales)?
While this is fairly common practice, nobody seems to be much concerned with the fact that her flat is now effectively abandoned! My pressing concern with regard to this aspect of the overall situation is that the flat is now vulnerable to potential squatters. While it seems reasonable to consider obtaining lasting powers of attorney for both welfare & financial issues, even if my mother agrees (& as a result of how other elderly people have been treated by their children, she's quite paranoid about being cheated!), it would seem that I'm reliant upon her psychiatrist agreeing that she's competent to give me (her only son & sole surviving relative) power of attorney - which doesn't make me feel too comfortable!
I feel that I need to gain access to her flat, not only to sort out her affairs, but also, being long term unemployed for physical health reasons, initially I need somewhere to stay as a base for visiting her, etc. The trouble is that I don't even have a key to the flat, though it would seem that she probably does, as they decided to section her, for their convenience, @ her local day centre. I've contacted my mother'ssolicitor over these matters, but not only has she ignored the matter of the key, but seems far more interested in getting me to fill out forms with regards to money laundering prevention, & generally raising even more unanswered questions!
Given that, it would seem, if I'm to obtain any progress, I'll have to fall back on contacting either my mother's social worker (& as she's probably the one who'll be applying for the Guardianship Order, there's the potential there for a "conflict of interests") or directly contacting the staff on the ward where she's being assessed. Given our present culture of confidentiality laws, & bureaucrats using regulations to protect themselves from accepting responsibility, what rights -entitlement do I have in requesting that the key (or a copy), be forwarded to me?

Cheers,
Jim
 

christine_batch

Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
3,388
Buckinghamshire
Dear Jim,
Welcome to Talking Point.
I am so sorry to read about your Mother.
We do have members who live in Scotland and they will do their best to help you as you say the law in different in Scotland.
The only suggestion I have at present is contacting Alzheimer's Head office and ask for the Legal Department.
Best wishes
Christine
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Hi Jim

I'm in Scotland, but I don't know if I'm going to be of much help to you.


Do you think your mum is capable of understanding PoA? Because if so, I don't understand why they are talking about Guardianship.

Why was she sectioned? Perhaps she was simply refusing to go into care, but was not considered safe to be left alone?

You definitely need legal advice on this, either from the present solicitor, or another one if you can't get any satisfaction from this one. All the paperwork about money laundering is very frustrating, but I'm afraid it's inevitable.

As for the flat, you need to find out who has the keys. Can your mum tell you this, and give you permission to use the flat? If not, I'm afraid it's back to the solicitor.

I don't think the AS helpline will advise you, as it's Scottish law. You could try Alzheimer Scotland, but I suspect they'll tell you to see a solicitor.

Sorry I can't be of more help,
 

Jim 47

Registered User
Jun 7, 2008
4
Scotland
To comply with £$%" software ZZZZZZZZZZZZZz

Hi Jim

I'm in Scotland, but I don't know if I'm going to be of much help to you.
Do you think your mum is capable of understanding PoA?

J47 - I don't know. Only that she's quite paranoid about being cheated & that she hasn't replied to any of my letters over the last two years (which implies she wasn't capable - apparently @ that stage she was suffering from short term memory loss).

Because if so, I don't understand why they are talking about Guardianship.

J47 - The trouble with the few letters I've had from her social worker is that they give no real detail, only the "barest bones". While I don't wish to jump to conclusions, or slag off people I don't know, it's not beyond the realms of probability that bureaucrats run things for their own benefit & convenience, rather than the needs of those they're supposed to serve (e.g. I'm NOT @ all happy the way they chose to section my mother in a way that was clearly for their convenience, whilst giving no thought of the consequences of their actions on others i.e. my mother's flat effectively being "abandoned" & in jeopardy to any squatters, & the consequences that may flow from that, ETC.[Am I justified in complaining about that - & would it do any good?])
Tied in with that, while I'm aware that in England, the NHS is quite rapacious @ taking people's houses off them in order to fund long term care costs, & while I suspect that doesn't apply to such a degree in Scotland, clearly the State obtaining a Guardianship order would seem to make it easier for them to recoup some of their care costs (as in I believe it may be capped, but to what degree in Scotland, I don't know?).
So, if it's probable(?) in Scotland, that the State can't obtain the flat, does that mean that they'll just abandon it, whilst THEIR Guardianship order effectively means that I can do nothing??

Why was she sectioned? Perhaps she was simply refusing to go into care, but was not considered safe to be left alone?

J47 - Apparently, not only was she not being "co-operative", but she was also found wandering around town in a confused state.

You definitely need legal advice on this, either from the present solicitor, or another one if you can't get any satisfaction from this one.

J47 - Without straying into a 4 hour conversation(!) on the topic, I'm divorced with kids because my ex saw that as an easier solution than dealing with her (still unresolved) childhood problems. Having spent 16 years fighting to maintain access, I've been round the houses with the socio-legal system. During that time, having tried 1/2 a dozen different lawyers, while they may be different, all were equally inadequate, so I don't feel too optimistic about finding one who's OK, & that's likely to waste far too much time-energy, without achieving anything of significance.

All the paperwork about money laundering is very frustrating, but I'm afraid it's inevitable.

J47 - Yeh, I understand why, it's just very frustrating when the solicitor completely ignores the pressing problem with the flat, & only seems interested in forms which are only relevant in the middle term!

As for the flat, you need to find out who has the keys.

J47 - I suspect my mum, as she was sectioned away from her house (i.e. @ the local day centre). However, if she's not capable of replying to my letters, then it's doubtful that she's capable of sending it to me (& I'm not too keen on going up with nowhere to stay!), which leaves me reliant on others who I don't know, e.g. I brought this point up when I phoned her psychiatrist, but nothing came of it.

Can your mum tell you this, and give you permission to use the flat? If not, I'm afraid it's back to the solicitor.

J47 - You'll have gathered from above my dim view of the socio-legal system (as in expecting much from them would be "the triumph of optimism over experience"), & with regard to obtaining a PoA, this solcitor has already suggested that I ask my mum's psychiatrist if she's sane enough to request one (which I see as likely to be just another example of so called
"professionals" using their cosy little club to exclude the public - & why would the psychiatrist come down on my side, when by excluding me, it makes life easier for them [as I implied before, generally, society's institutions tend to work for their own convenience, rather than serving others]?).

I don't think the AS helpline will advise you, as it's Scottish law. You could try Alzheimer Scotland, but I suspect they'll tell you to see a solicitor.

J47 - As in, covering themselves?

Sorry I can't be of more help,

J47 - Don't be sorry. Even the best of us only do what we can. Which is to say that the help of those who answer this thread IS appreciated :)
 

EmJ

Registered User
Sep 26, 2007
230
Scotland
Hi Jim,

I'm also in Scotland like Hazel. My dad is appointed attorney for my granny.

I think as the solicitor suggested, you should find out whether the old age psychiatrist who has been assessing your Mum feels that she is able to make a decision about who should make future decisions for her. I think before people are talking about guardianship they may feel she is unable to make such decisions. But I would check it out anyway. Try and get it in writing if you can.

If poa is an option, appointed attorneys don't necessarily have to be a relative. It can be anyone close to your Mum or your family. Another option is joint attorneys where two people are appointed to make joint decisions.

Try Alzheimer Scotland's website www.alzscot.org They have information on health & legal issues. They also have a free helpline number which you should find on their site. They may be able to help you. Let us know how you get on.

Take care,

EmJ
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
I'm NOT @ all happy the way they chose to section my mother in a way that was clearly for their convenience, whilst giving no thought of the consequences of their actions on others i.e. my mother's flat effectively being "abandoned" & in jeopardy to any squatters, & the consequences that may flow from that, ETC.[Am I justified in complaining about that - & would it do any good?])
Hi Jim

I don't think it would do any good to complain. If your mum was at risk, a section is the only way she could be taken to a place of safety. It's impossible to force a person into a care home if they refuse to go.

Tied in with that, while I'm aware that in England, the NHS is quite rapacious @ taking people's houses off them in order to fund long term care costs, & while I suspect that doesn't apply to such a degree in Scotland, clearly the State obtaining a Guardianship order would seem to make it easier for them to recoup some of their care costs (as in I believe it may be capped, but to what degree in Scotland, I don't know?).
So, if it's probable(?) in Scotland, that the State can't obtain the flat, does that mean that they'll just abandon it, whilst THEIR Guardianship order effectively means that I can do nothing??
I think you'll find that they're just as rapacious in Scotland! If your mum owns the flat, one way or another it will have to be sold to fund her care -- unless that is she has vast sums in the bank! They would take the full amount of care until her funds are reduced th £21,500, thereafter it's on a sliding scale.

this solcitor has already suggested that I ask my mum's psychiatrist if she's sane enough to request one (which I see as likely to be just another example of so called
"professionals" using their cosy little club to exclude the public - & why would the psychiatrist come down on my side, when by excluding me, it makes life easier for them [as I implied before, generally, society's institutions tend to work for their own convenience, rather than serving others]?).
I'm afraid this is normal. A solicitor will often ask for a professional judgement if the person's capacity is in doubt. He has to cover himself, if the PoA was challenged, and capacity was called into question, he could be in trouble.

But the psychiatrist should should not take sides. His job is just to determine capacity. He has nothing to gain either way.

J47 - As in, covering themselves?
No, I don't think that's quite fair. Yours is a very complex case, and I don't think they'd be prepared to express an opinion without all the information. It would take a lengthy investigation, and I don't think they do that -- though I could be wrong!
 

Christinec

Registered User
Aug 8, 2007
214
Hi Jim,
Sorry to hear about the situation you and your mother find yourself in.
Having been through some of this myself I thought I would try to reply but not sure I can help much. Money laundering paper work is a pain but we had to go through it although we were only moving areas and the situation we had gone to the lawyer for was a straightforward house purchase.

Some suggestions for advice and information in Scotland.
Alzheimers Scotland Dementia 24hr Helpline - 0808 808 3000
And/or the local office for your area is Grampian, Tayside and Shetland Regional Office
Tel: 01224 644077 , fax: 01224 644088
E-mail:GrampianRegion@alzscot.org
Also Princess Royal Trust for Carers
Address:
60 High Street
Arbroath
Angus
DD11 1AW
Tel:
0124 143 9157 E-mail:enquiries@ anguscarers. org. uk
Web site:
www. anguscarers. org. Uk
Also somewhere I have seen a list of lawyers in Scotland who specialise in Alzheimers.
Regarding the Guardianship process I do not think it is undertaken lightly and I do not think it will affect what your Mum pays for care. It seems to me it can be about the authorities making a decision for the person no longer fit enough to make it for themselves. That decision should be in the best interests of the person who can no longer reason about their future and relatives and an advocate representing the person as well as lawyers, consultants,,GPs, CPN and social work are involved. I think that paying for care and the guardianship process are not entirely linked.

The staff I have dealt with SW and CPN were excellent so it may be worth talking to the social worker and explaining your situation regarding the need to access the flat to sort out her affairs and also to use as temporary accommodation. Unfortunately from what you have said it seems possible that yours Mum’s flat will be sold to pay for care costs should your Mum need full time care. Despite the fact most people seem to think there is free care for the elderly in Scotland the truth is your mum will get a weekly payment for "personal care" which will be used with any other benefits, income, pension to pay care home fees. Any other money she has will also be used to pay the fees until she has less than a certain amount left (around £12000 I think )then the state takes over paying these. There is an exception where a person over 60(not sure of the age) or with special needs has previously lived with the person going in to care being able to keep the property as it is their home. Unless someone was staying with your Mum when she was at home this will not apply. This is my very rough understanding of the situation and I am sure the contacts above and the WEB link below will give you a much clearer picture. Please note I am not a hundred percentage the above is correct – it is my understanding of the situation.
http://www.counselandcare.org.uk/assets/library/documents/52_Care_Home_Fees_paying_them_in_Scotland.pdf

Regarding Power of Attorney I have sympathy as by the time my Mum was as ill as she is now we were unable to set this up as her GP and consultant both said she was not competent to make this decision. Catch22. I keep telling everyone I know to set up POA when they make a will as by the time you need it probably too late to do it. In my defence I had been told years ago by another relative that this had been done for my Mum. You may be luckier and find she is still considered able to do this but this was not my experience.

I hope some of this infomation/contacts can help you with this difficult situation which will be made worse by the fact you are so far away.
 

Jim 47

Registered User
Jun 7, 2008
4
Scotland
Hi!
I'm sorry for the delay in coming back on this, but apart from dealing with the initial situation, as no doubt you're all well aware, there are many consequences (indeed complications!) that flow from such situations. And that all (& other domestic situations, etc) takes a considerable amount of time & energy...
Firstly I'd like to thank all those who were considerate enough to reply to my thread & give me some much needed advice - much appreciated!
Anyway, I managed to get up & visit my mother on a number of occasions (no thanks to Megabus - I suppose if you've used them before & thus know your way around [& book early enough to get it really cheap, in order to make it almost! worthwhile], you can survive, but on the first time [when you haven't learned how to compensate for their incompetence -e.g. instead of Dundee, I ended up in Inverness!], they're pretty horrendous [as even some of their own inspectors admitted!]). And having "mugged up" online on what to expect, I was fairly well prepared, but not having seen her for a few years, it's still none too pleasant to require her to be pointed out to you because you no longer recognise her (as in she's no longer the mum I remember, Now she's just a small, shrunken, vulnerable, fragile old lady).
While I can hold a conversation with her, it's quite clear that I can't expect any more than a rather short, shallow superficial conversation. - So, while there's a lot about the reality of that situation that I don't like, the fact is, that's the way it now is - so I suppose I'm just going to have to learn how to deal with it the best I can.
She's recently been moved into full time resisdential care, so I suppose that side of her situation has been taken care of, which is of some relief.
Once again, many thanks for the advice. No doubt if I need some more, I'll be back!

Cheers,
Jim
 

Amble

Registered User
Jun 5, 2007
127
Surrey UK
Jim
There's nothing useful I can say except to say I am so sorry for all your problems. It's good news that there has been some small relief. What a nightmare about the travelling!
Hopefully the Care Home is a good one and your Mum will be well looked after.