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LPA -Are Finances Investigated?

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
A friend has asked if I know & what she should do ... this is the background as I have it

The brother has LPA’s for Health & Welfare and for Finance, he is the full time live in Carer for their mum as she lives some distance away and is working full time. She visits regularly, but the brother discourages her involvement saying it disrupts her routine. (She’s offered to stay for a week or two so he can go away for a break)

The mum has no savings, a reasonable pension and owns her own home. The brother has been told he has to pay for any Respite. SS have advised the LPA may be cancelled as the mum is getting into debt and the implication from SS is they believe the brother is causing the debts

My friend has been told she can’t have the finances investigated to find out why there debts are increasing

My mum was self funding, but after two years of caring for her, SS said they wouId look at providing Respite should I need it. I therefore assumed Respite was “available” to carers. Am I wrong in that assumption?

My friends mum is LA funded, so what reasons could SS have for refusing to fund Respite?

If my friend suspects her brother of mismanaging their mums finances, is there a way of having it looked into?

If SS apply to cancel the existing LPA, wouId my friend be able to take over and wouId she be responsible for past “errors”? Assuming the mum has capacity to sign the new LPA.

Finally, if the brother has mismanaged the finances (spent them on himself), wouId that be Deprivation of Assets and how would that effect my friend?

Thanks in advance for any guidance
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
1,888
Hi @Sam Luvit I have some sympathy for the brother. If he is living there with his mother, does this mean that he has given up his job and income to be a full time carer. Your friend says that there are no savings, is this because there never were any savings or that there were and they have now gone. What are the debts for, does she know?

If it was my brother in that situation then I would not expect him to contribute anything to the household expenses because he is providing a service that would probably cost a small fortune and he is also keeping her in her own home which keeps the house from being sold. I would expect him to live there for free to be honest and I certainly would not expect him to be paying for respite. I say this because I was in the brothers position for a while and if all he gets is carers allowance then it is very hard on him.

Do they get all the benefits they are entitled to?

I think your friend needs to have an honest and open chat with her brother before going taking investigations further as it could cause a lot of bad feelings.

If on the other hand he is spending unwisely it is completely different.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,127
@samluvit There seem to be 'gaps' in what you have been told so it's difficult to work out exactly what's going on.
You mention that your friend's mum is 'LA funded' – presumably she has carers coming in? I think it's likely that her mum is 'partly LA funded' and is paying some contribution towards the carers. When my mum was financially assessed for care visits she was still required to make quite a significant contribution towards her care from her pensions/benefits even though her savings and her income were low and she was not a 'self-funder'. Local authorities have different rules with regards to paying contributions towards care but most will expect some sort of contribution rather than provide everything for free, particularly as social care budgets are so stretched.

Respite is ‘available’ but this is dependent on whether the local authority deem that it is required, and also the outcome of a means assessment. Some areas may provide free respite but this varies and is definitely not a ‘given’ and it could be that your friend’s mum’s income, or her brother’s, takes them over their local authority funding limit for getting free respite. As he has already turned down your friend’s offer of respite because of the disruption to mum’s routine then perhaps he doesn’t actually want to take any, so hasn’t applied for any, or it could just be that money is so tight that he isn't able to afford a break?

If they suspect that your brother may be misusing mum's funds then social services have the authority to conduct a safeguarding investigation into potential financial abuse, or as there's an LPA in place they can also liaise with the OPG and asking them to investigate. SS saying to your friend that the LPA "may be cancelled as mum is getting into debt" isn’t the same thing as ‘implying’ that they believe that your friend’s brother is causing the debts. I’d be surprised if they went into much detail with your friend prior to any investigation being conducted/concluded. Your friend could contact the OPG herself to report her brother for misusing funds but she will need to provide some level of evidence, not just a ‘suspicion’ that this is happening based on an ‘implication’ from SS. Does she have copies of bank statements, receipts etc?

With regards to whether your friend can take over the LPA if it is cancelled, I suggest that she takes it one step at a time and waits for the outcome of any investigation (if there is one) before thinking ahead to what action to take if her brother is ‘guilty’ of misusing funds. Better for her to adopt a supportive approach towards her brother, who may have carer’s burnout, and avoid jumping to conclusions without first establishing all of the facts.
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,814
North West
Hmm its a tough one @Sam Luvit, but if your friend doesn't talk to the brother and find out why this is happening its going to be a very hit n miss affair with the possibility of being very wrong in her assumptions as @Duggies-girl has said.

When dad died mums finances were terrible, her private pension wouldn't cover the bills and other costs such as food and her state pension was reduced until I got it all reviewed and also applied for attendance allowance, but even then things were very tight. If I hadn't moved in and helped out with my own salary mum certainly would have been in debt by now. Not working and caring for someone on a very low carers allowance leaves no room for manoeuvre with no other means of resolving matters (no savings).

There is only one way and thats talk to the brother with some compassion and see what the answers are before making any decisions
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
If on the other hand he is spending unwisely it is completely different.
Hi @Duggies-girl

The brother lives with the mum. Yes, I agree with you, all normal household bills should be covered by the mum, electric, water etc. She buys the ingredients and he cooks, they both eat. I do believe that as LPA, with her best interests at heart, he should not be using her money for himself.

There were savings, but they have all been spent

Yes, carers allowance is pitiful, but with no other outgoings, it is enough for personal extras. You can work and earn iro £110 a week and still get carers allowance, that wouId be a maximum of twelve hours a week at minimum wage, a couple of morning or afternoons a week. That wouId leave the brother with a disposable income in excess of £750 a month. That’s a lot more than most people have after paying rent/ mortgage, household bills and food. Carers allowance alone is still iro £290 a month, which was more than I had left after paying my massive mortgage

Its not my friend who wants it investigated, it’s the LA. SS have told him the LPA could be overturned as he has caused her to get into debt. She just wants to try to help sort things before that happens. She tried talking to him, but he doesn’t want her help or input

What she can see on visits is that her brother drinks excessively, funded by their mother. She has no access to any financial records as the brother refuses to discuss them.
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
Hi @Louise7

The mum has carers coming in 4 times a day and contributes towards this.

The brother wants respite, has refused his sisters help as he says she will disrupt the routine. She suspects it has more to do with her finding out what’s really going on. She visits when she can, but is unhappy with how things are. She says her brother obviously does care, but it’s all getting in a mess with finances

He has been warned by SS that his LPA could be overturned if her debts increase as he has caused the debts. She has tried talking to her brother, but is getting nowhere. He won’t discuss anything.

She doesn’t want an investigation and all the fallout that will cause, but is concerned about her mum. It’s hard for her to know things are getting worse and not be able to do anything.
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
Hi @Palerider

My friend has tried talking to her brother, he won’t engage. Prior to lockdown, she was visiting more, she does what she can, but he refuses her help as it disrupts the routine. He won’t talk about money, but she can see his spending while she’s there and he is using their mums money, not just for her

I know everyone’s situation is different. It took me a few months to sort out mums pensions, AA, CT exemption etc, but once it was sorted, she had enough to pay everything. She had savings & was self funding, so I used that as “extra” and took her on holiday, day trips, hairdressers etc, but ... I spent my money on me. I didn’t spend her money on me. It’s the brother spending the mums money in himself that is causing the “problem” in this family.

If SS assess someone as needing x calls a day, they assess the caree’s finances and set the contribution level. If it’s done correctly, there is enough to cover essentials. There is not enough left to pay the Carer to drink, smoke or have fibre broadband :(
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,614
South coast
What a mess your friend is trying to sort out. To be honest, if the brother wont talk to her, I dont think there is very much she can do as SS are already putting things in motion that may well remove him from POA.
What she can see on visits is that her brother drinks excessively, funded by their mother.
If he is using his mum to fund his lifestyle, then yes, this is deprivation of assets. I dont know what measures the LA can take, but I know they are willing to pursue these things and they have teeth.

It doesnt sound to me as though your friends mum has the capacity to consent to a new POA to replace the existing one once it is removed, so I suspect that the LA will apply for deputyship, although your friend may be given the option of applying for it herself. The deputy will not be responsible for the debt itself, but will be responsible for "managing" it and will undoubtedly have to work with the LA
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,814
North West
Hi @Palerider

My friend has tried talking to her brother, he won’t engage. Prior to lockdown, she was visiting more, she does what she can, but he refuses her help as it disrupts the routine. He won’t talk about money, but she can see his spending while she’s there and he is using their mums money, not just for her

I know everyone’s situation is different. It took me a few months to sort out mums pensions, AA, CT exemption etc, but once it was sorted, she had enough to pay everything. She had savings & was self funding, so I used that as “extra” and took her on holiday, day trips, hairdressers etc, but ... I spent my money on me. I didn’t spend her money on me. It’s the brother spending the mums money in himself that is causing the “problem” in this family.

If SS assess someone as needing x calls a day, they assess the caree’s finances and set the contribution level. If it’s done correctly, there is enough to cover essentials. There is not enough left to pay the Carer to drink, smoke or have fibre broadband :(
Hello @Sam Luvit 😁

Well at least your friend has tried to broach the matter with brother, which is always the best way forward at first. Sometimes people are glad to spill the beans and get it all sorted out. Sounds like it might have gone too far now??

Yes I was the same, once I got mums half of dads pension sorted and private pension and AA sorted she had enough to pay her bills and treat herself etc and eventually pay for day carers once a day.

I helped out as well and paid for trips out, meals out and mums last holiday in 2016 to Malta and also the shopping as I had moved in with her (at first to support her) so it was only fair I paid for all the food and houshold stuff and also paid the phone bill -it would not have been appropriate for mum to pay everything although she frequently tried to offer money. Obviously anything for myself I also paid for.

I think sometimes people don't recognise the legal responsibility when taking on LPA or the consequences if they get it wrong. From what you have posted, your friends brother may regret not coming forward and proactively seeking help sooner which likely started out as good intentions and escalated into something else.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
1,888
Hi @Duggies-girl

The brother lives with the mum. Yes, I agree with you, all normal household bills should be covered by the mum, electric, water etc. She buys the ingredients and he cooks, they both eat. I do believe that as LPA, with her best interests at heart, he should not be using her money for himself.

There were savings, but they have all been spent

Yes, carers allowance is pitiful, but with no other outgoings, it is enough for personal extras. You can work and earn iro £110 a week and still get carers allowance, that wouId be a maximum of twelve hours a week at minimum wage, a couple of morning or afternoons a week. That wouId leave the brother with a disposable income in excess of £750 a month. That’s a lot more than most people have after paying rent/ mortgage, household bills and food. Carers allowance alone is still iro £290 a month, which was more than I had left after paying my massive mortgage

Its not my friend who wants it investigated, it’s the LA. SS have told him the LPA could be overturned as he has caused her to get into debt. She just wants to try to help sort things before that happens. She tried talking to him, but he doesn’t want her help or input

What she can see on visits is that her brother drinks excessively, funded by their mother. She has no access to any financial records as the brother refuses to discuss them.
No that doesn't sound right, she certainly should not be paying for his booze. Dad paid for my food but that was because I was looking after him 24/7 and unable to work. I was a bit of a bargain really.

All of dads bills and bank statements were in order in his drawer so the the rest of the family could see them whenever they wanted. If he has LPA and is not open about the spending the he is probably hiding something and hopefully the LA will get to the bottom of it.

I think she has done the best she can by talking to him but I am not sure what her next move should be. Hopefully the LA will sort it out.
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
Yes it is a mess @canary, my friend is concerned that when / if SS step in and investigate, that she could be facing a situation where she might be held accountable (I don't think that’s right as she has no input into financial spending), or she will have to contribute towards her mums care, which she is unable to do. Either situation will cause further rifts in the family.

It’s a hard choice isn’t it? Keep mum at home, in familiar surroundings, but possibly subject to financial abuse, or almost certainly move her into a home, with unfamiliar surroundings and probably making her brother homeless to boot. Neither is ideal. Both have consequence. I do feel for her and the mum
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
I think sometimes people don't recognise the legal responsibility when taking on LPA or the consequences if they get it wrong.
Hi @Palerider

Its hard to be the person at the coal face, juggling through appointments and fighting the system, but it’s also hard to be the “outsider’ trying to help, but being kept at arms length. It’s why I was so determined to be totally transparent with my brother. I told him each and every large expenditure, although he asked why I was telling him how much replacing the downstairs loo cost, I needed him to know that thousand pounds was for her benefit (even though she then refused to use it!!!). She had wanted it sorted at the time and it was necessary as it needed to be sorted

I looked at the finances and did what I thought was fair. Everything mum wouId have paid for without me being there, she paid for. She paid for petrol as it was considerably cheaper than getting taxis all the time, but the car was mine. She paid fir all her “extras” and I paid for my infrequent hair cuts etc. I was lucky in that I’d calculated she’d have to live for nearly twenty years before she ran out if money. So she had lots of days out, weekends away and a holiday abroad. It was her money, that she had earns and she was spending it on herself.

I dont think people do think through the responsibilities of a LPA, I was worried about getting it wrong, so erred on the side of caution.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
729
High Peak
Sam, I don't understand something: if the brother has LPA, how on earth do SS know the mum is getting into debt? How/why do they have access to her finances?
 

AliceA

Registered User
May 27, 2016
2,825
I feel your friend should go to the CAB or AgeUk for advice.
With the best will in the world the advice we can give is subjective as the full facts are not clear.
Perhaps your friend could post on here?
Respite is not free. Social Services do an assessment and the Mother would be paying a contribution for domicillary care if she has this.
When offered respite a contribution has to be made. Each council is different so advice should be county linked not general
It is difficult to give advice, it really is a minefield. There is a goodFacebook site, Safeguarding Futures, this was started by the Parsons, who have a good knowledge base.
It may be looking at that too.
 

Timebar

Registered User
Jun 13, 2019
21
Sam

You say the brother is the full time carer but that the Mum is funded by SS with four visits a day. I would agree with the person who suggested that she could be partly funded by SS. If she was fully funded by SS I doubt there would be an issue for SS around finances. If she is partly funded many LAs will pay the care agency in full and re-bill for the self-funded aspect. This bill would be going to the brother. He may not be paying, pleading he cannot afford it etc and hence why SS are getting twitchy.

She has four visits a day, that's generally the maximum that most LAs will consider. That's a pretty hefty care package and anyone needing that level of personal care must be on the edge of requiring residential care.

I would be interested in the brother's circumstances before he moved in. If he has given up a job and home to move in with his mother that makes him a pretty special and remarkable person. He may have committed himself with all good intentions and found he had bitten off more than he could chew so to speak and he needs careful handling and support ultimately.

If, however, he didn't have a job or a very good one or anything much else going for him beforehand, then he may be serving his own purposes.

The respite issue is a red herring. However it started or whatever the brother's intentions were, there is clearly something untoward with the finances now. He is not going to want to let other people in the home for extended periods of time as they may see God only knows what.

If I were your friend Sam, I would be looking to see whether any items of value are still about, i.e. jewellery in case it's been sold/pawned. Your friends knows her brother. She will know instinctively which scenario is more likely.
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,930
East Sussex
Thank you, everyone that made suggestions, that took the time to comment. I’ve passed on the information and it’s now up to my friend to make her decisions.

I know as an outsider, it’s easy. I think we all know that when it’s close to home, those decisions are blurred by feelings, guilt or duty or even love, but the decisions are not easy

One way or another, many of us have faced those decisions. We made the best choices, with the information we have and how we will live with the end result.

I thank you for your help and hope I don’t regret not doing more, or that my friend doesn’t feel regret one day