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Paying myself as family carer

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
96
0
I was determined to never again get into a thread involving money and Power of Attorney, but here I am…
I feel that the legalities over POAs should be reviewed as part of the entire review of dementia care (or Neuro cognitive disorders as I’m told they should now be known,). My understanding is that Enduring Powers of Attorney were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (for separate issues) in 2007 because of cases of abuse of powers under the former system. Understandable, but as usual with legalities, it became a sledgehammer to crack a nut. What no one seemed to grasp was that most people who have a POA are also full time carers and that financially fleecing their PWD is not going to be their primary motivation in life. Most EPAs and LPAs (I have both for my aunt and my late mother) are worded to suggest that if a professional person such as a solicitor is acting as the attorney, it would be be perfectly reasonable to charge whatever fees aredeemed appropriate for doing anything at all connected to the affairs of the PWD. Yet, if it’s a family member or close friend everything that is done has to be from the goodness of the heart and at the personal expense of that person, no matter how unfair it is. Anything else is deemed as ‘profiting from the PWD’. This apparently doesn’t apply to lawyers or solicitors who are only ‘charging for their time’, something a relative is not allowed to do.
@Bettusboo , you need to look closely at the wording of your LPA. It may well say that you are allowed to claim reasonable costs in administering your Pwds affairs. Of course, no one defines ’reasonable’ in law, apparently.
Carers Allowance is simply not enough to live on, so to suggest that you, as POA, plus chief cook, bottle washer and potential bottom wiper should do so, may be legally correct, but is completely ludicrous. If every POA in this country abided by these very stringent rules, our vulnerable (mostly) old people with dementia would not be looked after because no one could afford or be willing to do it. That is the bottom line.
My advice? Do what you feel is in the best interests of your family and your PWD. If you and your dad can muddle along to your mutual satisfaction, then just do it. I realise that I may invoke the disapproval of other forum members, but it’s just my opinion. You have to manage as best you can. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
Thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful response snd advice which I will follow and for wading into something that I am quickly learning can be so contentious . I completely agree with you and appreciate the way that you are considering the bigger picture. Family carers are holding things together for so many and social care would be in even more of a mess without their much much undervalued input. Being able to be paid fairly for this without being seen as trying to take advantage would be a good start in valuing family carers the way they ought to be.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,884
0
I agree with @Scarlet Lady that many carers with POA are treated with great suspicion, unfairly in most cases and under a lot of stress doing there very best for their loved ones. How can it be that it is okay to pay a stranger a large amount of money (much of which they won't even see) who may be replaced by other strangers at any time but it is frowned on for a family member who is probably in a better position to care properly for someone in there own home to receive some financial help to be able to continue to care for their parent.

I looked after my dad 24/7 in his own home and yes he helped me out financially and why shouldn't he. He could have paid thousands to carers he didn't know or he could be with me his daughter 24/7 and feel completely at ease, happy, and with excellent care. Nobody knew my dad better than I did and nobody else would have looked after him better than I did. His oncologist told me that the reason he did so well was because he was obviously getting excellent care at home. No paid carer could have done better than I did but I was expected to leave my job, my home and husband and just happily look after dad with no financial help. It is ridiculous.

At least you have the support of your sister @Bettusboo and that is a great start.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
2,292
0
cornwall
Just curious as to what happens if it is written in the LPOA that the donor wishes to pay the attorney. As they have to have capacity at the time of signing it would be their wish.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
I predict that this thread will be closed soon but I agree with @Scarlet Lady that many carers with POA are treated with great suspicion, unfairly in most cases and under a lot of stress doing there very best for their loved ones. How can it be that it is okay to pay a stranger a large amount of money (much of which they won't even see) who may be replaced by other strangers at any time but it is frowned on for a family member who is probably in a better position to care properly for someone in there own home to receive some financial help to be able to continue to care for their parent.

I looked after my dad 24/7 in his own home and yes he helped me out financially and why shouldn't he. He could have paid thousands to carers he didn't know or he could be with me his daughter 24/7 and feel completely at ease, happy, and with excellent care. Nobody knew my dad better than I did and nobody else would have looked after him better than I did. His oncologist told me that the reason he did so well was because he was obviously getting excellent care at home. No paid carer could have done better than I did but I was expected to leave my job, my home and husband and just happily look after dad with no financial help. It is ridiculous.

At least you have the support of your sister @Bettusboo and that is a great start.
It is ridiculous, I completely agree. You sound like you did a great job for your dad and more than deserved every penny paid for it. Thank you.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
23,622
0
North Manchester
Just curious as to what happens if it is written in the LPOA that the donor wishes to pay the attorney. As they have to have capacity at the time of signing it would be their wish.
The COP may not accept the added clause and reject the application.
An application to strike out the clause could be made to the COP
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
564
0
OK, so I care for Mum 24/7 - well, strictly speaking I get an hour off 6 days a week (when the carer comes - funded by Mum) and I get 1 1/2hr off every day, when I walk my dogs. I make that 141 hrs per week as a carer. For this I get carers allowance of £65 odd per week. I make that a 'wage' of about 48p/hr. Of course, I could get a part-time job and earn another £120 odd per week, without affecting the carers allowance. Let's say that's 15 hrs work per week. Of course, I would then need to employ a carer to cover these hours at £18+hr (which Mum would have to fund)...
So yes, Mum helps me out financially - just as she always wanted to.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,278
0
I have read through all this interesting thread but nowhere has anyone pointed to a law against family members being paid as carers. The OPG guidance for Deputyship is a guide if not directly applicable. It doesn't say "never". What the OPG says is of course not law, just guidance.

An attorney needs to act in the best interests of the donor and it might be that the best interests of the donor were to pay the family member as carer. If it is, it would be right to do so.

Pragmatically it would be very much advisable for an independent person of repute to evaluate best interests and provide a report in writing so that the attorney could not be accused of exploitation. The attorney should in my view have formal hours of work, be paid no more than the going rate, and should pay tax on earnings.

Unconventional and controversial perhaps but bureaucrats don't make the law, and I ask anyone who disagrees to say which law ( not guidance) might be broken!
 

Feeling unsupported

Registered User
Jul 9, 2021
48
0
Really interested to see that so many others are struggling with this. I have POA and whilst I do not care on a personal level, I have still devoted very much of my time, to arranging and overseeing her care. Thankfully, I have a flexible job, as I could never have held down a 9-5 job. I feel that I must be able to account for every penny of PWD's money. PWD has had 2 amazing personal carers for the last few years. On birthdays and Christmas, I always ensure that they are looked after, as I know that is what mum would want. Indeed she did do so herself, before the dementia. Last Christmas, when purchasing flowers as a thank you, I decided to treat myself too....why did I feel so guilty? I haven't had my birthday remembered by my mum for several years now....and yes it hurts 😢
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,278
0
Yes people don't always appreciate how much time and effort goes into managing finances, making arrangements of various sorts, and dealing with real or imagined problems that the PWD raises. Today alone I have given attention to sorting out a misunderstood appointment, resolving a problem about hearing aid batteries, listening to and investigating a possible scam attempt, and that's from over 100 miles away.

Incidentally I only account for expenses to the nearest pound rounded up or down, perhaps not strictly right but I cannot see it being challenged.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
827
0
When my sister took voluntary redundancy with the intention of looking after mum more, we read everything we could find from the OPG. Although the reference to the benefits of paying for family carers does refer to Deputyship, we took it as acceptable with LPA as well. I think it said such carers would be cheaper than external carers and likely to be more comforting to the pwd. We used our LPA to access mums money to pay my sister £10 an hour which was less than half the agency staff used at weekends - we gave her £50 a month for petrol as well as she used her car to take mum out to clubs and activities.

This suited everyone, mum had someone with her for several hours a day preparing meals and looking after her, me and my brother were able to cover the days when my sister did not go as we were not as stressed or worried and my sister was happy to spend time with mum as well as have some financial independence.

We were sure we had made the best decision for mums care needs as well as financial and were prepared to argue the toss to any official who challenged us. But I’m not sure who would have done that when all three attorneys were in agreement so no one was checking what we did.

It meant mum lived independently at home for almost a year longer than otherwise, although it became unsafe eventually when mum began falling over.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,278
0
When my sister took voluntary redundancy with the intention of looking after mum more, we read everything we could find from the OPG. Although the reference to the benefits of paying for family carers does refer to Deputyship, we took it as acceptable with LPA as well. I think it said such carers would be cheaper than external carers and likely to be more comforting to the pwd. We used our LPA to access mums money to pay my sister £10 an hour which was less than half the agency staff used at weekends - we gave her £50 a month for petrol as well as she used her car to take mum out to clubs and activities.

This suited everyone, mum had someone with her for several hours a day preparing meals and looking after her, me and my brother were able to cover the days when my sister did not go as we were not as stressed or worried and my sister was happy to spend time with mum as well as have some financial independence.

We were sure we had made the best decision for mums care needs as well as financial and were prepared to argue the toss to any official who challenged us. But I’m not sure who would have done that when all three attorneys were in agreement so no one was checking what we did.

It meant mum lived independently at home for almost a year longer than otherwise, although it became unsafe eventually when mum began falling over.
I think you did the right thing. You acted in her best interests and could demonstrate that not only did your decision result in good care but also saved her money. I cannot identify any legal grounds for questioning what you did.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
16,071
0
South coast
Its all a very grey area, with very little in the way of legislation.
I had deputyship for mum and had to write an annual financial report stating exactly where every penny of mums money had gone and my reasons for spending it this way. I found it focussed the mind, knowing that the Office of Public Guardians had the authority to challenge how I spent mums money and I contacted them a few times to check whether what I wanted to do was OK. I never paid myself out of mums money (she was in a care home by the time I got deputyship), but I was told that it was OK to claim petrol (there was a set rate for mileage) to go and visit her and pay for days out etc.

I think that, in principle, it is allowed to pay yourself for care, so long as it is not above the going rate, but I would still be cautious, especially if Local Authority financing is likely to be involved at some stage. They can be quite unforgiving about things that they consider to be Deprivation of Assets (there doesnt seem to be any legislation about what constitutes DOA, either), so make sure that whatever you do is completely transparent, you have very sound reasons for doing what you do, and keep all receipts, invoices etc.
 

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