Money Disappearing - Taking away cash card?


Registered User
Feb 6, 2006
For several months my MIL has been asking for large sums of cash on a weekly basis. This was £100 although we have more recently dropped it to £50. This money just seems to disappear.

It is not used for shopping or bills which we organise. It may partly be cigarettes bought outside of the main shop (my MIL tries to hide how much she is smoking from us and maintains she doesn't smoke). There are also twice daily trips to the shop for newspapers and magazines and sweets. There are constant cries that she has no money and each time her purse is displayed it contains only bronze coins. £50 disappeared in two days at the weekend and yesterday she went to the cash point and asked a complete stranger to withdraw money for her. As the morning carer testified that she had £50 and her bank card (and PIN) in her purse it seems that this time it was a good samaritan.

I think we have reached the stage where my MIL cannot control her own money. She certainly cannot use her bank card as a debit card or to withdraw money - she says her PIN aloud and asks if it is right. But where do we go from here? We can only be around at the weekend apart from emergencies. To be honest the burden of care is really beginning to impact hugely on our family life to the extent that I am beginning to resent the time we spend with her and her increasing neediness. Any more than we already do seems intolerable right now.

Any ideas about how to deal with money would be welcomed. Basically we have already set up DD's for everything but utilities. Quarterly bills are paid by cheque which is becoming a bit of an issue but still manegable with lots of prompting for her signature. It is managing cash that is the problem. We did get a solicitor to organise welfare and financial POA a few months ago but we have never received any paperwork. My thoughts were that we should get our names added to my MIL's bank account to enable us legally to withdraw cash. We would then take away my MIL's bank card and give her seperate "pots" of money to use at the local shop for newspapers, sweeties (huge amounts), extra cigarettes etc. We would ask the carers to provide receipts for any purchases they made with maybe a notebook to jot things down.

Does this sound workable or does anyone have better suggestions that work for them? In the last week we have had another set of lost keys to cope with and I do feel that things are running away from us at the moment.


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
Hello. What problems you have. Putting your names on the account would not prevent your MIL drawing out with card, although it would enable you to take more control. With my husband and his debit card - I emphasised to him that he was not allowed to take his PIN around with him and the bank could not take responsibility for his cash!! (mostly true). So I phoned the bank and organised a 'signature only'. This means he now only uses the card if he is paying for a lunch out or similar. He has not yet realised he is unable to take cash from a machine as he obviously needs a PIN for that - could this solve one of your problems.
Good luck with it all. Beckyjan


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
This is very tough. How helpful are her bank likely to be? It is my personal experience that as soon as they (the bank) consider that the pin has been compromised (as it obviously has) they will change it ASAP. Is it likely she will remember a new pin? My own Mother has no idea how pins work, and she can't get out on her own, so that has not been a particular issue for us.

Your MIL has been lucky so far, but as you realise, the odds are against her. The problem with removing her card, is that you just know she's not going to remember why she doesn't have it any more. I really think you need to follow up with the solicitor and get the POA ball rolling (I assume you are in Scotland?). Whatever you do, there's going to be runctions. Probably better to do it now, and deal with them, than wait until her bank account is cleared out, either by herself or someone else, and then have the runctions. At least this way, she'll still have the money.

Beckyjan - good luck with getting the signature card! Twice (twice!) I've gone into the bank with my Mother to set this up, and twice nothing has materialized.


Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi, mumof3. Cash and vulnerable people just don't mix, do they?

Makes me laugh the banks were behind having people paid their wages/penison direct to save the huge amounts of cash bandied about on Friday afternoons only to expect 'Joe Public' to hang about lonely cash-points to withdraw their own money!!!!!

Sorry, cynicism aside .... if your MIL is predominantly spending her money at a local newsagents could you not set up an 'account' - rather like a paper bill - only it could be used for her ciggies and sweets ...... yes, it would mean you 'settling her account' (or paying up front) ... Would it 'wash' with her that you are trying to protect her from carrying around amounts of cash? (Could be seen as scare-mongering, I guess?)

Just another thought.... is the money that is 'disappearing' actually being spent???? Been through similar with mum when she has declared she has no money ... only for a few days later to see her produce a wad of notes from her underwear drawer!!!

Hope others have some other ideas for you ..... in the meantime you have my every sympathy about the impacts on family life.....

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
you know there is another way around this, when you get the POE or better still EPOE your can contact the welfare tell them that you have EPOE, or POE you open a separate account in yours or your husband name and all your mum money go into that account.
Just a thought

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
It does sound like it's time to cancel the cash card. Or at least get the PIN changed. As jenniferpa said, it's better to go through the runctions now. And do get the POA registered (or whatever you have to do) right away.

It's a lot of trouble getting things set up but once it's done, it's a load off your mind. I don't know how POAs work in the UK, but with mine I can sign cheques for my mother. I used to give my mother a little cash just so she felt comfortable - she liked to have a bit of cash on hand.

Karen's idea about setting up an account at the newsagent's sounds like a good one to me.

Let us know how it goes.


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
It does sound like it is time to remove the bank card. Or perhaps having a strict limit put on it (if this is possible?)

Also, I believe that if you have POA, or better yet EPOA, then you can ask the D.W.P. to pay your MIL's benefits to you, rather than to her. I suspect that this can include pensions.

When I applied for my Dad's Attendance Allowance, we could not declare that he was unable to manage his affairs and unable to sign the form, but there were certainly options to do both these things. There was even an option to mark that the person was unware of the application (though you had to give a reason).

I believe that if you apply to receive someone's benefits, because they are unable to manage their own affairs, then you will likely get a visit from Social Services as they have to ensure you will be acting in that person's best interests.

Perhaps your first port of call should be to get advice from Social Services; explain your concerns and see what they say. I have no doubt that your situation is not unique!

They would most likely be able to tell you what your options are, and how you go about making necessary arrangements, what you need to do at the bank, etc.

The bank would no doubt be willing if they believe that the account is being compromised - for example your MIL is obviously unable to keep the PIN secure, if she is asking strangers to operate cash machines.

If the cheque payments are becoming a problem then you could have utility bills to be put onto DD as well (and this will save you money as most companies give a discount for DD customers).

With POA you would have complete access to your MIL's finances; otherwise you can certainly have yourself added as an authorised signatory by filling in a form at the bank, but this is really only helpful for people who can manage their affairs but are unable to sign cheques (I investigated this because Mum has Parkinsons which makes writing difficult but she is otherwise fine).

Incidentally it would be worth checking to make sure that your MIL is not simply hiding the cash away somewhere and then forgetting about it. This is quite a common thing, sufferers will put things in the most bizarre places and then forget they've done so. Also, it is worth making tactful enquiries - your MIL may be withdrawing the cash and putting it somewhere in the home because she suspects that someone is stealing it from her bank account.
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Registered User
May 24, 2006
Firstly its vital to download EPA forms from Guardianship website and get her to sign them

With that you can go to the bank and get everything switched to your address , cancel her cash card and limit her credit card
Organise that every bill and pension cheques etc goes into the bank direct

You are likely to find that she has money stashed all over the house .....apparently they like to see actual notes because they can no longer undertsand bank accounts , bills etc

My Mother is exactly the same nearly landed in court for not paying bills
Insists on £100s of money in the house and then i discovered she had not even paid house insurance

You just have to get that EPA and simply take over control whether they like it or not


Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
Hi mumof3

I appreciate your predicament as I posted a very similar thread a few weeks ago! My mum has a chip and sig card, which in itself is fraught with danger as anyone can forge a signature. I have let the bank know about the EPA (which is currently unregistered with the CoP), but the bank processing of the EPA and putting me against her account all went through quite smoothly (thanks all on TP for your advice with this!).

I have arranged for all my mum's bills to be paid DD. I've cancelled her pension from going to the post office ... now goes into her bank account. I did do a bit of blagging as she was dead set against it going into the bank. Like your mum, mine was also drawing out sums of money (from the bank) and I didn't know where it was. Like you, I cannot be with her all the time (usually every other weekend); so am mopping up as and when I can. I know how stressed out you must be feeling with it all.

You need to do something constructive one way or another. I've taken the softly, softly approach and, it seems to have worked. I know mum is getting worse with money (although oddly, she has no problem doing mental arithmetic or checking her change. Her problem lies in how much money she's given someone, she can't remember if it's a tenner of twenty. She puts her bank statements all over the place and doesn't check them (despite insisting otherwise) and of course can't remember where she's spent her money, how much she drew out or when.

Over a period of months, I gained several (more) grey hairs going through this; arguing the toss with mum, and explaining over and over again why I needed to change things. She didn't like it and neither did I. If she didn't have dementia, I wouldn't have needed to, but she has, so I did.

Take a deep breath and do it! :)
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Dave W

Registered User
Jul 3, 2005

A couple of hints here of a problem I had before Mum went into hospital. I knew she always liked to have cash in the house (Dad had always handled all finances, so she only started learning about banks at 68, poor woman), but since then we've found little rolls of notes tucked away in the most unlikely places - hidden away and then obviously forgotten. This does seem to be a fairly common occurence - please search the house sometime when you can do it without her knowing. I suspect you'll be horrified.

Getting pensions paid saight into accounts is also easy - just phone DWP and they will set you up as an 'agent' for her. I don'know if you're in England or Scotland (attorney laws are different), but my experience of the bank (England) has been pretty positive. They actually commented - by phone - when I first contacted them that were worried something was wrong (she kept losing cheque books), but didn't know who to speak to: they do have obligations to customers as well as to the money.

Good luck.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006

I gained several (more) grey hairs going through this
Oh well its down to the Chemist for a hair dye :) , Only because I had to do mine :D the other day like you I also gained More :eek: