1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    My Dad is in hospital under section 3 and is going to be discharged in the new year to a care home (EMI). He has a long standing partner (unmarried) who lives in my dad's house and has done for many years although the deeds are in my dad's name. My sister and I have deferred to her all the way since my dad was admitted, as we felt that she was closest to him and it was the right thing to do. The problem is that she is not really sharing any information with us. Both my sister and I visit Dad in the hospital twice a week but the staff don't tell us anything. I have been to one meeting to discuss Dad, and I have another one next week, but the information is pretty general, not detailed, and we don't get any paperwork as it all goes to Dad's partner.

    Now that his discharge is approaching she has said that she is going to choose a care home and doesn't seem to welcome any input from me or my sister. She doesn't have his power of attorney but has recently engaged a solicitor and applied for deputyship. In theory, I don't have an issue with this but I am getting increasingly concerned by her reluctance to include my sister or me in any decisions. I suppose I have let things go by because I thought that my sister and I are his next of kin and so would be the people who would be involved in decisions but it doesn't seem to be the case.

    I am very reluctant to do anything that would cause bad feelings but I need to know what rights, if any, my sister and I have regarding Dad's welfare.
     
  2. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Deputyship

    Just to add on to my previous post, can Dad's partner become his deputy without agreement from my sister or me?

    If she can, what is to stop anyone from applying to be someone's deputy?

    I know I sound suspicious minded, and I suppose I am. I'm trying my best not to think the worst but, in my experience, power and money corrupts. I would feel much more comfortable if my sister and I were involved. Is this unreasonable? How do I broach this subject without her thinking that I'm saying she's not trustworthy? Am I worrying about nothing because the courts will supervise?

    Please help.
     
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    I don't know any legal answers to this but I would also be concerned about being cut out of any decision making. I'm bumping this up to see if anyone can help with the legal side or I'm sure someone else has been in a similar position and can advise x
     
  4. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,839
    England
    #4 Katrine, Nov 20, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
    Anyone can apply (with a few restrictions), but the court will decide if that person is suitable to act in the adult's best interests. You should be notified of the application and would have a chance to object. It would be better if it didn't get to that point.

    You could suggest to your dad's partner that one of you sisters applies with her to be deputies with joint and several powers. However, if you want to be a deputy you will have to be active in managing your dad's affairs, and in keeping records and completing the detailed monitoring forms for OPG.

    His partner would have to be willing to share the work, and to share information. It would be a disaster if you were appointed as a joint deputy and she subsequently shut you out of the process. Then you would have to go to court for an order to change the situation, and that is both expensive and contentious.

    I think you and your sister need to decide whether the issue is largely one of hurt feelings, or whether you really believe it would be in your dad's best interests for you to be more involved. Perhaps by politely and respectfully deferring to his partner this has given her the impression that you are not supportive of them both, which I am sure is not actually the case. There might be some misunderstandings and hurt feelings on her part also.

    One good reason to go for joint deputyship would be that if something happens to his partner then the expensive and lengthy deputyship process would have to be started all over again. If there are joint deputies this provides your dad with belt and braces deputyship support. This argument might appeal to her, as it is focused on mutual concern for your dad.

    My personal experience is of applying for Guardianship in Scotland, which is similar to, but not the same as, deputyship. Scottish law is different. Please look at the information online from OPG and gov.uk websites for more information about how deputyship works, and what would be the grounds for objecting to someone else's application.
     
  5. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,745
    Female
    London
    I am sole attorney for my OH, with his eldest son replacement attorney. We are not married. His four children from a previous marriage didn't object as they largely leave me to it anyway. I would keep them updated if they ever asked! I don't know how involved you are in your father's care and I don't want to make any assumptions, but could it be her feelings are hurt because you guys suddenly want a say in something she considers to be her choice because she deals with anything else as well? Just a thought. It would be much better to clear the air now than to object formally to her obtaining deputyship. Let me also say that deputyship is usually only granted for financial affairs, not for health and welfare.

    Also, it is a common misconception that next of kin is automatically the nearest blood relative. In the UK there is no legal definition, and anyone can nominate someone else to be their next of kin. OH and I long ago filled in a little card nominating each other. Next of kin also can't make medical decisions but they should be consulted by a doctor.
    Read the following: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_of_kin
     
  6. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    1,257
    If only your dad's partner felt the same!

    Having said that, it's a valid point that she might have got the impression that you don't really want to be particularly involved. It's still no reason to withhold information when you ask about your dad... so maybe that's the first thing that needs to be cleared up. Speak or write to her and explain that you have been respectful of their relationship, however he is your father and you have every moral right to know what's going on with him and to have input about decisions made for him.

    That done, if she's reasonable, she should start a flow of information going your way. If that doesn't happen, I'd be worried.

    If she's given the Deputyship, as far as I know she will have no legal obligation to tell you what she's doing with his finances (she's unlikely to get a welfare Deputyship) so unless you have some factual concerns about how she's acting, that will be that.

    The one other thing I'll say, though, is that when there's a dispute between relatives as to who should act as Deputy, the Court is likely to appoint a panel Deputy, a professional (often a solicitor) to do the job, and to panel Deputies it is a job and they get paid for performing their duties. If your father's finances are complicated, there could be a significant cost attached.

    So, all that said, I really hope you manage to resolve the situation between yourselves and this woman, and that she'll be open to you being a part of the decision making process. A joint Deputyship would be ideal.
     
  7. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    1,806
    From what you have written, your father and his partner have lived together for many years as husband and wife, although unmarried.

    Whilst the house is in his name only, is it fair to assume that they have shared other finances (bank accounts, savings, living costs etc) as a couple? The only thing they haven't done is to marry, and he has kept the house in his name?

    And that if it wasn't for his dementia, the two of them would have carried on in this way ie, that their relationship wasn't failing?

    If that is the case, her becoming his deputy doesn't seem unreasonable.

    I appreciate that you are his children, and I agree should be kept in the loop about what is happening, but they did have a relationship that is almost marriage but without the legal paperwork.

    It seems as though communication and discussion are the major problems here - or are you concerned that she might make poor decisions for your father eg, a residential home that you couldn't visit easily, or wouldn't choose, or whether financial decisions which might not be in his best interests could be made?

    This is a difficult time, and a difficult situation. Is there a third party who could help with easing communications with her perhaps?
     
  8. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions.

    I have read, very carefully, what has been written and it is all correct.

    I suppose what it boils down to is that it has hurt my feelings that she isn't freely sharing information and it does make me uneasy. My sister and I keep in touch with her and let her know anything notable about our visits with Dad as we tend to go in the evenings twice each a week, whereas she goes during the day and I thought that we would at least be included in choosing a care home but, instead, it was only by chance that I found out that he was being discharged from the hospital.

    Also, as far as finances are concerned, it would seem to me that the best way of avoiding any mistakes or opportunities for mistrust would be to share the responsibility. I don't like to feel suspicious but I equally don't want to let my dad down and live to regret doing nothing because I decided to keep the peace.

    I understand that the courts supervise deputies but is this in theory or in practise?
    To be quite truthful I don't really care about the day to day finances.

    I just want to have some input into where he goes to live and confidence that his main assets won't be disposed of. I am reluctant to say this because of fear of coming across as if it's all about money, but, without trying to sound saintly, it is more about wanting my dad's wishes, which he was very clear about, to be carried out.

    He wouldn't give anyone his power of attorney because he was of the mindset that you don't relinquish your control to other people in case they stitch you up, and I suppose, now that he has no say, I want to look out for his interests.
     
  9. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,499
    Female
    Near Southampton
    Well, more in theory on a day to day level I supppose but the Deputy has to complete a pretty comprehensive report form once a year which is checked by someone in the OPG, not the Court of Protection - they are only really concerned with the appointment of the Deputy and the overseeing is done by the OPG.

    The report includes details of all income and expenditure and is thorough.
    Detailed accounts have to be kept throughout the year as these can be asked for if the report doesn't satisfy the OPG for some reason. Bank statements are not considered sufficient evidence.

    As somebody has already mentioned though, none of this will have anything to do with where your father's care home will be as it Deputyship for health and welfare is only rarely given. So I think that consideration for the ability for family to visit should hopefully be taken into account by your father's partner.
     
  10. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Thank you.
    My sister lives quite close to Dad's partner so hopefully he will be close to her. I live about 40 miles away so, in a sense, it doesn't really make a difference to me.

    I am more concerned about which home rather than where. When I suggested that the home doesn't necessarily have to be one from the list given by the hospital and, if there was a more suitable one, it would just be a case of paying the extra she didn't seem very receptive.
     
  11. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,266
    Male
    North Manchester
    "Now that his discharge is approaching she has said that she is going to choose a care home..."

    If your Dad is discharged under a section 117, especially if it is a rural area, and depending on your dad's condition, she may find there is no choice, it may even be difficult to find a placement.
     
  12. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    I believe it will be a section 117 (although I won't know for sure until I go to the meeting next week). It is in London, and his issues are mainly challenging behaviour so it will be EMI or whatever the terminology is now.

    Presumably, I'm assuming he will not be discharged until a placement has been found. Is this correct?
     
  13. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,266
    Male
    North Manchester
    " I'm assuming he will not be discharged until a placement has been found. Is this correct?"

    If on a 117, and it would be most unusual if not, a placement that accepts him will have to be found before he is discharged.
     
  14. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Thanks nitram. With this in mind, I think I will let things roll on as they are with Dad's partner. I am mindful that she is an elderly lady who has lost her partner (I know Dad hasn't died but he's never going to go home again) and maybe she needs to feel in control of something. Given that the choices are likely to be very limited I think I'll just offer again to help her and see where we go from that.
     
  15. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Thanks everyone.

    Your responses and comments have really helped me to get my head straight.

    This is probably not the end of it but, for now, I feel much more settled about things.

    Thanks again.
     
  16. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    335
    Hi Beryl

    It's horrible to be dealing with this stuff, particularly if you're feeling to some extent cut off. My mum had to go into EMI care after being placed on a Sec 3. Unfortunately the circumstances meant that there was no PoE in place. I believe it's true that (at least in England) the 'next of kin' is who someone wants it to be. In other words, it could be a close friend rather than a family member. If the individual isn't capable of making a decision then I suppose there's a hierarchical ranking. In many ways not being married does complicate outcomes, because marriage is a legal, not an emotional, contract.

    I have deputyship for my mum and I have a twin sister. Me having the deputyship makes sense, as I'm named as the excutor for my mum's estate. My twin sister has never had any objection to either of these things. In fact, I'm really the only person involved who could carry out this position, even though I hate having to do it. I had to supply names and addresses of people who should be informed of my applying for this position, and this should definately include any children. It also includes family members and friends who have been involved in the person's welfare. So you can certainly object to the application. The dilemma is: will this benefit either your dad or you?

    On a positive note, in my brief experience, it would seem that the individual who has a CoP deputy is perhaps more protected than someone who's set up a PoA. We're responsible to the courts, in particular the Office of Public Guardian, and have to be meticulous about keeping records of how we've managed the finances of those we're responsible for. For example, I'm allowed to spend my mum's money on any charities she might have been committed to. I can use her money to provide gifts in the way she had chosen to do. If I used that option to use her money in another way it would be picked up and I would be answerable to the CoP.

    Good luck - it's a horrible position to be in.
     
  17. Beryls

    Beryls Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    17
    Thank you.

    I do feel very reassured, by the comments I have read today, that Dad is well protected by the courts from any mismanagement. It is just such a shame that his partner, who is quite an elderly lady, has, intentionally or otherwise, created a situation whereby she has all of this responsibility when there are people who would like nothing more than to help her - particularly as my professional background is in financial accounting.

    I think that she may be somewhat suspicious of me and my sister and would view any request to be involved as us trying to marginalise her but, to be truthful, at the moment with everything being so stressful, I will try to speak to her and offer help but I don't want to push it and create an even wider gap.
     
  18. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,540
    Ireland
    Maybe she's frightened - it's quite a big change for her, and must be very stressful, to be losing her partner in such a way, to this horrible illness. Could she be feeling (as she's elderly) that she has to prove she's able to manage it all? And even though you and your sister are willing to help - could it be that she's a bit frightened, because in all reality, her partner is your father, but she is not your mother? Maybe she's frightened, that as they weren't married, you and your sister might have more "rights" than she would - maybe she needs some reassurance that all you want to do is help her care for your father/her partner, as you know how very much she means to your dad.
     
  19. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,745
    Female
    London
    You say you're somewhat suspicious of her and think she may be somewhat suspicious of you - there is nothing like a good old natter over coffee and cake to clear the air. I doubt very much she is intentionally trying to rile you, it's just how she rolls, and I think it doesn't matter whether they are married or not - they have lived together a long time and she feels like his next of kin. So please tread carefully and acknowledge that, and do make it clear you just want to help. If she wants to plough on alone, I don't think you have anything much to fear in regards to finance mismanagement as the COP rules are thorough. She might not have much choice with the care home due to his circumstances, but you could just gently say you'd like to help her cope with it as it must be frightening having to decide something so important.

    You seem like a very reasonable person so I am sure you can sort this out.
     
  20. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    1,806
    Dear Beryls,

    I'm not sure what age you might mean when you say quite elderly, but I know my mum and dad were very private about their health and financial matters.

    They would only disclose something on a need to know basis, and getting my mum to accept help with finances was never fully resolved due to her reluctance.

    So that may also be a factor - if she and your father have conducted their lives relatively privately as far as you are concerned she may not see the need to change things now.

    I'm sure you will resolve this, and taking a gentle approach will probably yield the best results. She needs to see that it's your dad's welfare that is your prime concern. Good luck :)
     

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