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POA and expenses advice please

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Orchard, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. Orchard

    Orchard Registered User

    Feb 24, 2015
    Hello. My first post so please forgive any gaffes. I seek some advice please and I hope this forum is an appropriate place to ask.

    I am nearest relative to an aunt for whom I also have POA (EPA). She has been in hospital for some months. She may enter nursing care relatively soon. Alzheimer's is a part of her diagnosis. I live 300 miles from her. I try to visit for weekends at month/6 week intervals but I have a young family and it can be hard; we have also recently moved house so have a lot on.

    I have siblings who also have young families but live abroad. I would like to ask them to help out with visiting, maybe once a year each, to ease the burden on my family and also to allow me to catch up on POA-related paperwork. That sort of help has not been offered so before I request more directly I'd like to get the facts straight.

    1. Can I legitimately claim expenses for my 300 mile trips? Sometimes POA duties are involved as well as visiting, e.g. checking up on her house, medical reviews, house valuations, checking out nursing homes. Would that make a difference? Accommodation costs are generally minimal as once in the area I stay with a relative from the other side of my family.

    2. (and perhaps this is the crux) can I legitimately offer to my siblings that their travel expenses could be met if they were to visit her, as I wish to ask them to do?

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.
  2. In a Whirl

    In a Whirl Registered User

    Feb 23, 2015
    Hi Orchard,
    If in doubt ring the Public Guardian's office & ask.(General enquiries) I did & they were great.
    Rule of Thumb seems to be thus. If you have an EPA what is it for? Allowable expenses can only be set against the performance of the duties as laid out in the EPA . Sometimes you have to decide whether you are wearing a welfare hat or a financial affairs hat.

    The reimbursement of monies expended on the donor's behalf & which are in their best interest & are in proportion to their income/capital seem also to be allowable. For example buying clothes for the donor or paying care home fees can be reclaimable.

    In my case the POW is for finances only so I could claim travel expenses for meeting with the solicitor & bank manager etc to register my Power of Attorney but cannot claim the cost of petrol to visit the aged parent as that would come under welfare.

    If in doubt do ring the Office of the Public Guardian.
  3. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Hi Orchard and welcome to TP :)

    I'm sure In A Whirl is right, best to consult the Public Guardian's Office.

    However, I am bumping this as I feel you may also be able to claim petrol or train fares for welfare visits, even though you have finance POA.

    Speaking of which, if it's Enduring Power of Attorney that you have, there is no specific division between finance and welfare.....the whole thing relates to finance.

    Are you sure you have an Enduring POA, as opposed to a Lasting POA?

    Hopefully others may have information on this, too :)
  4. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    Whilst your travel expenses as the named attorney could be allowable, paying airfares or other means of travel for your siblings to visit from abroad at your request would be a step too far for the OPG I suspect!

    Whilst it might be desirable for your aunt to maintain family relationships, paying for such social visits, even if she might have done before she stopped controlling her own finances, might be seen as misuse of her assets.
  5. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    I agree nicoise - air fares for family visits at the attorney's request, does seem over the top to me ( however desirable those visits might be).

    One thing I've wondered myself, if I may while I think of it....

    Mum isn't on broadband, of course. Increasingly I find it hard to access websites, photos etc to discuss when I'm there. And I'd love to set up so e Skype sessions so that she could see / chat to my daughter who lives a distance away ( with my help, of course).

    Any views on the allowability of that? I haven't done it as she doesn't understand it at all - but I do think it could add to the quality of her life :)
  6. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    My sister and BIL had P of A for an aunt who had to go into a care home. They lived a long drive - maybe 5 hours - from her house, and repeated visits were needed to clean and clear it, arrange for the sale, etc. as well as visiting the aunt and all the previous trips to look for the right care home. A couple of years later as her dementia worsened she had to be moved to another CH, so more trips were necessary.

    My BIL is dead straight and does everything absolutely by the book, but he certainly paid from the aunt's money their own hefty expenses for petrol, etc. as necessary, and the odd night in a B and B once the house was cleared/ sold. I believe it is perfectly legitimate for an attorney to claim or pay themselves necessary expenses while dealing with someone else's affairs. You do need to keep notes and receipts, though, in case of any query later, but I don't think that would normally be likely.
  7. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I would agree with this. As mum lived 2hrs drive away and I often had to go with her to appointments or meetings I did claim my petrol costs. I was the sole attorney, but I asked my siblings to approve this and nobody had a problem with it. I did have an EPOA by the way not an LPA.

    Would be very interested to hear what the OPG say if you do speak to them.
  8. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    I think it's one thing for you to claim expenses to sort out her affairs, to me it would be wrong to pay for siblings air fare to 'visit' their Aunt.

    Perhaps they could visit her on their next trip 'home', Aunty wouldn't pay but would have the benefit of a visit?
  9. Orchard

    Orchard Registered User

    Feb 24, 2015
    Thank you for all your responses.

    In reply to one or two specifics, yes I do have Enduring power of attorney; it was set up in 2007 just before they were replaced with the Lasting kind.

    My (younger) siblings very rarely visit the UK as they moved abroad as schoolchildren with my parents in 1989. I stayed in the UK to study. So they have little concept of UK "home" visits.

    I'll contact the OPG but I read general opinion here as saying I can't offer a cost incentive to family members to help me out a bit with ideally monthly visits. I have little doubt that my aunt herself would be in favour of that but I can't prove it!

    My partner and I wanted to move my aunt to a care home close to us when she's discharged from hospital, to enable us to visit visit bi/weekly. But recently her capacity and ability to communicate seem to have improved and it's obvious that she knows where she is (the part of the country she's spent all her life) and strongly wishes to remain in that area. She also said to me "don't forget me". Luckily she has a superb local friend who visits perhaps weekly.
  10. alexp

    alexp Registered User

    Feb 21, 2009
    I have EPA for my aunt and I did get in touch with the Office of the Public Guardian a while back as her brother and his wife were asking for help with paying their fares from Canada to visit her (she had helped them out before).

    The lady I spoke to checked with her manager and said I could give them up to £400. Any more would require the filling in of several forms and a long wait for a decision.

    The relatives weren't too happy - they wanted more!
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Alex - that sounds about right in terms of amounts that could be given for a gift.

    I agree with everyone else: by all means reimburse yourself for expenses that your incur as her attorney, but anything else your need to be very careful about.

    Personal story: I live in the USA, my mother lived in England, and while the EPA hasn't been activated at the time she died, I could access her bank accounts via a third party mandate. I never used her money for my visits because it just didn't seem right. Even though I knew for certain that she would be totally on board with it. In some ways I wish I had, because I would have rather have seen her than inherited, but you just don't know how things are going to play out.
  12. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    I take petrol costs for running around for Mum out of her money, with the agreement of my sibling. I also wanted to encourage my sibling to visit and so said we could take her train/petrol fare out of Mum's money. But then I found my sister was charging over the top amounts for the travel and then when i checked the visitor's book, she had only been there for half and hour, so she wasn't exactly value for money. Now she just doesn't bother coming even with the fare paid, so I get no respite from being main visitor.

    My point is, if relatives want to visit, they will and trying to financially incentivise them won't make them come in my experience. i am afraid there are many on here who sadly find that the burden tends to fall on them alone, many relatives who one thought one could rely on choose not to be involved. Exasperating and exhausting as this is, it may be something you need to face.
  13. Orchard

    Orchard Registered User

    Feb 24, 2015
    RaggedRobin - your view pretty much sums up where I am at the moment.

    I do fear my and my partner's resentment building to a point where relationships with my siblings will deteriorate. For that reason I feel I need to at least ask them to visit once a year or so. If refused, well at least I'll know where I stand.
  14. MeganCat

    MeganCat Registered User

    Jan 29, 2013
    South Wales
    I've offered to pay myself for my sibling to visit - no take up! (Their excuse previously was expense)
    My conscience is clear, but it is frustrating and I really cannot understand the mentality
    Out of sight
  15. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    Exactly. Some people say you have to feel sorry for people who 'can't face' visiting but I am afraid I find it very hard to be so benevolent about it. My bil says he 'wants to remember her now she was' as if she is dead.:rolleyes:
  16. missmarple

    missmarple Registered User

    Jan 14, 2013
    I have financial POA for my dad. I can only say that I pay for every train fare to visit him out of Dad's account. If i was driving i would bill petrol. I have also had to take annual leave on several occasions to meet with his health and social care team, and with the CCG when applying for CHC. On each occasion I bill the account the equivalent of a what i would earn in a day's work. I met up with a solicitor for the elderly a couple of years ago and she told me this was OK.
    All my visits to Dad (once a fortnight or more) now are to trouble shoot, meet with carers, do work on his house and also spend time with him (due to behavioural issues he needs 1:1 input at all times), and i personally think that to keep up this level of input I need to offset my expenses. This situation has been going on for years and is likely to last a few more, and i do not want resentment at being out of pocket to cloud my commitment. I do not take money out of his account for anything else except of course to pay for his bills and other items he needs.

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