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.

Power of attorney - specific question

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by redlester, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. redlester

    redlester Registered User

    Mar 29, 2006
    Does the fact that I have EPA for my mum mean that I can use her debit card to make purchases for her in shops? She comes shopping with me each week and we fill her trolly but I have her card and do the transaction for her. What happens in the occasional instance where sometimes a signature is required rather than chip & pin? Can I sign as I would do with a cheque? How does the retailer know I have EPA?

    I asked the question at HSBC the other day and the young lad didn't have a clue. He even said he wasn't sure if I was allowed to use mum's debit card at all! What is the point of having EPA if one can't actually put it to use in a practical situation?

    Also - does anyone know which banks (if any) allow use of internet banking for accounts with EPA? HSBC certainly don't.
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #2 jenniferpa, Nov 13, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2006
    HSBC is the pits when it comes to EPA, third party access and the whole ball of wax. I don't have an answer to your question, although I will say that I do do exactly what you are talking about, but I have no idea about the legalities thereof. I just wanted to say though, that you are not alone in the situation vis a vis this particular bank. I was told by them that I could have a cash card in my own name, drawn on her account, but I have no idea how reliable this information is: I have tried 3 times to get a credit card for her without a pin, it seems to be going forward, and then nothing arrives. So they are absolutely hopeless.


    Ps Before I decided to just fudge the system, it looked as if Barclays might work. Also, some of the building societies are better at this apparently
  3. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    #3 Lucille, Nov 13, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2006
    Hello redlester

    I think (but am not 100%) that you have to apply for a card as EPA, rather than use your mum's. I only say this because when I put the EPA against mum's account (albeit with RBS), they asked if I wanted a card to use against that account. I said no. However, I do have a chq book which has 'Attorney' written against my name for mum; I'm guessing a card would have similar? That way, (again, this is only a thought) there is no doubt as to who you are and what you're doing when using the card in shops.

    Might I add that RBS have been brilliant in dealing with me in connection with mum's account. Nationwide are good as well.

    Let me know the outcome of your investigations; as there will come a point when I'll need a card ...

    PS: With RBS you can opt for Direct Banking (internet) as part of the EPA process. It's been a godsend for me.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    EPA and Barclays

    Barclays have been pretty good, actually. I was never in the shopping with Mum situation, but I can sign her cheques and use her cash point card to withdraw money - they recorded the EPA against the account and off we went. Really very easy. Bradford & Bingley have been pretty good too, although not the quickest bunch to deal with.

    Trying to open new accounts at new banks might be more tricky if you don't do it while you can still involve your Mum in the process - I understand some banks will then want the EPA to be registered.
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #5 jenniferpa, Nov 13, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2006
    Yes, when I contacted Barclays, I at least got the impression that the issue had been dealt with before - with HSBC every question is a new question, if you see what I mean. The only reason I didn't go forward is because setting up new bank accounts when I'm in a totally different country is a major pain.


    PS Halifax seemed OK, but when I delved deeper I found that they use a IP locator system designed to stop you setting up new accounts when you are overseas. It also screws up web site accessibility for assorted items, so I ended up closing that account.
  6. redlester

    redlester Registered User

    Mar 29, 2006
    Thanks folks. I will probably look into transferring her account to RBS or one of the others. When I can get round to it. HSBC haven't issued me with a special cheque book or anything - just told me that any cheque I sign will be honoured. Once again, how does the payee know that without me having to explain...and then take my word for it!
  7. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mother was with the HSBC and I used her card to buy stuff online. She did not approve of me spending so much of her money on food for her, but didn't stop me.

  8. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    They will honour the cheques - they'll honour them even when they've lost the signature that you've placed on file! When I first set it up, my mother and I went in to the branch, filled out all the forms, signed the signature card etc. Several weeks later, having happily been signing cheques I discovered that they were refusing to honur a standing order signed by me. The next time I was in the UK, I went into the branch, and discovered that they had no record of my signature. All that time, I'd been signing my name on her checques, they'd been honouring them, but I could have been signing Donald Duck for all they knew. Hopeless.
  9. cynron

    cynron Registered User

    Sep 26, 2005
    east sussex
    barclays natiowide

    I have dealt with Nationwide and Barclays.

    Barclays system was very involved.:eek: :) Nationwide was no bother at all,:)

    Cynron x x
  10. drummer-john

    drummer-john Registered User

    Apr 29, 2005
    Hi redlester
    Halifax internet banking works well with EPA, and you could have a card as well. You have to show them the EPA document and choose which banking functions you want to take over, and they sort it all out. Worked well for me.
  11. pammy14

    pammy14 Registered User

    Dec 5, 2005
    I have set up accounts with alliance and Leicester as attorney for my sister. They say my name and attorney for her on the cheque books and the switch card which I can use easily. also have use of internet for her accounts.
  12. Amanda1954

    Amanda1954 Registered User

    Nov 5, 2006
    I set up new accounts with Nationwide for my mother-in-law for whom I have EPA. At first they issued me with a card in her name. As she is in a nursing home it was a bit pointless and it was only when I pointed out the difference in name on the card and the signature that they then issued a card in my name. A bit longwinded but they got the hang of it in the end.

    I've also just done an EPA for my mum who is also with Nationwide and they were very helpful and seemed to know what they were doing this time (different branch).

    It seems to largely depend on who you get to help you. Good luck!

  13. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    #13 MJK, Nov 14, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2006


    My Mum banks with HSBC and I tried to invoke her EPA with them. They were really useless. They won't accept it until it is registered, and said that then she would have absolutely no access to her money. She lives alone so needs access to some cash, I currently (unofficially) have access to internet banking on her account so can sort out all regular bills, keep an eye on spending etc. I'm a bit stumped as to what to do next though, I wanted to put some safeguards on the account to stop her withdrawing large amounts (e.g. she gets £100 and £1000 mixed up easily), writing large cheques etc but they said there was absolutely no way I could limit her access. All I'm doing at the moment is making sure her balance is never too high, but I suspect they'd just let her go overdrawn if she did write a large cheque. Also, she really struggles to write cheques now, so she usually gets the payee to write it for her!!

    Any suggestions for dealing with HSBC, or should I just change her bank (which will be a major problem as she "likes" HSBC! I live over 200 miles away so I can't just keep popping in to her branch to sort things out (not that they'd let me at the moment!).

    She's got savings accounts with Bradford & Bingley and Nationwide and I'm hoping they'll be more helpful.

    One last question, Mum is susceptible to salesmen and recently signed a contract for over £2000 of UPVC, luckily I found out about it and was able to cancel within the cooling off period. Is there any way I can avoid this happening again? Even if the bank limited the amount of money she could withdraw/write a cheque for I assume she'd be obliged to pay if the work had been done/or it was outside the cooling off period.

    Sorry for hijacking this thread - it was just the mention of HSBC that reminded me I'd been meaning to post about this.

    Any advice gratefully received.


    P.S. I'm sorry but I only seem to be asking questions of my own never having the information/experience to help other people.
  14. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Ah yes, the HSBC, the bane of my existence. About the only thing they will let you do without a registered EPA is have a third party mandate on the account. This means that you can write checks and conduct telephone banking but not access internet banking. For goodness sake, do not mention that you have unofficial access to her account - they will act like you are robbing the bank with guns, lock the account, and force new access codes on you (ask how I know this!). One option if you are a UK resident (which I am not) would be to convert the account to a joint account in both your names - at least then you could get legitimately to internet banking. However, if your mother is still able to access the account none of these things will stop her accidentally withdrawing everything, or for that matter, signing anything.

    I would imagine that only by registering the EPA could you even start to halt the salesman susceptability, and even then I have no idea what the legal position is when someone with an EPA has signed a contract. One would like to think that they were not legally capable of entering into a contract, and that would be logical, but I'm not certain. In that sense I am fortunate - Mummy is unwilling to sign anything unless I am there, and has lost any real sense that money even exists.

    I would contact her other financial institutions and see if they can work out a better system in advance. You don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Hopefully, they will be more responsive to your situation - you'll never find that HSBC will be. Personally I feel quite sorry for their employees - one of the branch employees was almost reduced to tears by their own procedures when I was trying to sort this out.

  15. Splat88

    Splat88 Registered User

    Jul 13, 2005
    My MIL has several accounts with building societies and banks, and each one treated registering the EPA differently, the Banking ombudsman should make them use a uniform system!!
    I too use MIL's debit card, but my one piece of advice would be to tell banks etc that it is done for convenience sake as she no longer wants to deal woth her finances, because as soon as you mention dementia, they want the EPA registered.
    She doesn't have an HSBC account, thank God! The new cards with PIN would be no use to her at all, luckily she lives with us, so it's quite easy to monitor her accounts.
  16. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #16 jenniferpa, Nov 14, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2006
    Sorry to contradict you, but depending on the bank (see HSBC) be very careful about telling them you use another persons card - this is a no-no even if, in individual cases, they will turn a blind eye. Their legal requirements are such that, if they are made aware that someone is using another persons card, they have duty to cancel that card. There may be institutions that ignore this rule in individual cases, but in theory, they are breaking banking law and their own contract with the account holder by doing so.
  17. Splat88

    Splat88 Registered User

    Jul 13, 2005
    Yes, cards are meant to be individual and PIN not known to anyone else to protect against fraud, and her banks have offered me a card to use as PA.... but she is usually with me if we have to use her card, she would not be able to remember her PIN, and in fact, if I asked her, she'd say she has no money!!!
  18. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    MY decision was to finally register EPA (with Court of Protection) to (as I understand it) avoid mum entering into inappropriate financial contracts (which she has recently done). So far, we have ‘muddled through’ on ‘Third Party Mandates’ and an EPA ‘at the ready’ … not my best course of action maybe….. it’s in progress - that ‘legal process through which you hand over the power to decide what is done with your financial affairs and your property’….

    MY decision (mum having ‘handed over the power’ - what a horrid word!) - was that she is/is becoming incapable of managing her financial affairs…..

    MY decision (acting in mum’s best interests and with advice from solicitor and backing from her next ‘next-of-kin’) was that to deny her a ‘CHIP and PIN’ card was to deny her independence … and was detrimental to her mental health needs and any semblance of independence (although not covered by POA) were paramount to the financial risk she was exposed to on the odd occasion she can 1) manage a trip to the local shop, 2) remember to take her purse with her, 3) remember her PIN number 4) not disclose it to the nice lady who serves in the afternoons etc etc ….

    MY judgement as POA was that whilst only I should ‘sign’ (contracts, cheques etc) mum should be allowed a card on her account … my duty to keep a close eye …. (still HER money etc) and because of her particular health and financial circumstances at this particular time warrant the element of financial risk which I - as attorney - see fit to take to preserve what she has left of any independent functioning.

    Now, banks, as they are generally, have rules and protocols …. They don’t generally have to deal with people who don’t know their CAM from their ISA ….. they tried ‘Floor limits’ and ‘Merchandiser Secondary Level Authority’, does mum know the difference between a ‘Highline’ and a ‘Cashline’ card? Do I???? We settled on the FA ringing HO Ops … whhhhwaaaat??? They speak banking gobbledygook ….

    Perhaps it’s me speaking dementia gobbledygook ….. POAs are one thing - methinks EPAs haven’t quite reached them yet….. When I mentioned ‘Court of Protection’ it might as well have been a reference to their insurance subsidiary……

    The dear, dear advisor who has helped and tried to understand the situation just cannot turn the bank’s black and white procedures into something that ’fits’ mum’s rather greyish circumstances….. After much muttering with ‘The Manager’ - either your mum’s incapable or not…… , ‘This can’t be the first time the bank has come across this’….. at which point I referred her to the Guardianship website…. (sigh)……

    I WILL be sending a commendation for her time and attention …. but in the meantime am looking for some ‘creative’ banking solutions for this situation…… which will probably mean ME obtaining promised card on her account - changing her PIN to the one she has only ever known (and God willing seems to be one of the few things she CAN remember) … who’s to know if I hand said card over to her?????

    It IS fudging it. It IS by-passing the ‘black and white’ - but the way I see it as POA under the Court of Protection I have to stand by my decisions on her behalf and if this keeps her happy with relatively minimal risk to her finances, what wrong is there in it????

    NOT a recommendation - just my way of trying to look at a seemingly impossible situation in some creative light..... and I'll have to live with my own conscience.....

    Karen, x
  19. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    HSBC I agree are a total nightmare. My brother only has EPA because at the time of doing all the paperwork with the solicitor mum was having a hissy fit with me over 'stolen' dentures and rugs!! So I was 'toast'.

    Anyway my poor brother has had a nightmare with them. Lost paperwork etc. etc. it took 6 weeks to sort out, but to date still no cheque book so he has to write Attorney after his name, which evokes all sorts of questions and looks of suspicion from retailers. They have totally refused a debit card, in short a total nightmare. So what happens in reality is that we buy for her, and pay ourselves back (hanging onto all receipts in case we are ever questioned). Needless to say our accounts are always in a mess these days.

    How easy would it be to close that account, and open another account somewhere else. She has her state pension etc. payed into the bank! So it would mean changing all that kind of thing.

  20. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    My Agent used to change bank accounts - Banks - every two years or so as a matter of course. Got better service.
    When ever I have been unhappy with a bank I have moved to another - and got better service.

    Very easy thing to do - change banks. Select one and go in and ask the questions about service and helpfulness... If they seem OK say you would like to quit your (or your POA bank) present bank and join them. They will be thrilled!

    They will automatically take over all standing orders, direct debits, inform regularly payments place that send money to the account of the change -- really easy. They will also inform your 'old' bank of your decision to move.. Might take half an hour of form filling but think how much time and trouble it will save in the long run.

    The best way to improve service is to vote with your feet.

    bon chance


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.