Protecting finances - when and when not appropriate.

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Allypally52, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. Allypally52

    Allypally52 Registered User

    Mar 11, 2014
    Hi there - this is a question without a definitive answer I think, so just looking for opinions/perspectives.

    Firstly, just to say my husband is being such a star helping to care for my dad (96 with dementia plus some physical health problems) so this isn't a big problem but I would appreciate people's thoughts.....

    My husband has POA for dad for finances and I have health and welfare. Dad said he only wanted one person appointed so this seemed the best fit as my dad is a retired bank manager and handling his money (which is now beyond him although obsessing about it takes up most of his waking hours) is much easier for my husband as I'm not really money-savvy and my OH has an accounting background.

    The sticking point is when it comes to mail orders, which is another obsession of dad's. One of us is always with him now so we keep an eye on the scam mail which he was falling for and must have spent thousands on absolute rubbish in order to claim his (non existent) prize.
    I have absolutely no qualms about withholding this mail, telling love lies about it if necessary....anything to prevent these evil people from deceiving my dad. But dad is also addicted to ordering anything that he sees in his paper, or from charity mail, much of which he wouldn't have looked twice at before dementia set in. Not sure if I'm allowed to name companies, but some of their marketing ploys are very cunning and obviously aimed to attract the attention of the vulnerable, so in principle I hate them too but in practice I feel uncomfortable about stopping dad from spending his money (which is often on things for us, never needed or wanted so basically a waste of money).

    However, dad has more than enough monthly income to live in comfort, paying all his bills with lots left over and mail ordering is now one of the only things he can enjoy as he can't go out of the house and it gives him something to look forward to. I guess my husband feels differently because he hates to see money being squandered and also these orders often result in dad getting into a muddle when his bank statement arrives (see previous comment about his money obsession!) and I'm not the one to have to spend hours on repeat explaining about it or phoning the companies :)

    My feelings are that dad has very few 'freedoms' in his life now and letting him waste money (which he can easily afford) is something that affords him dignity and enjoyment. It upsets me to see my lovely dad thinking some c**p is a good buy when he and mum had such good taste, but that's my problem to deal with.
    On the other hand my husband is wired differently, he's practical rather than emotionally-driven and is basically doing his duty as POA to safeguard dad's finances. I can understand that and I'm not falling out with my husband, far from it.... but just interested to hear what other people do or think about this? I guess it's yet another head and heart problem that seems so common on here....
  2. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    #2 Katrine, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
    What a tricky situation. I think your OH is right about his duty to safeguard. It might be an affordable hobby now, but what happens if a much larger sum gets spent? Wouldn't you then feel that your Dad had been allowed too much freedom to spend recklessly?

    How does he pay for these mail order purchases? If he has a cheque book then you could consider substituting it with a dummy cheque book. I have seen these for sale on *B**.

    If he uses a card, could OH keep this safe but have a weekly discussion with your Dad on what he wants to buy. Dad could collect the order coupons and hand them over to OH to post. Then you decide between you both what you will allow to go through, so that Dad still gets some parcels?

    If you are leaving Dad in possession of his credit/debit card, I recommend that OH makes a note of the security number on the back and then scratches this off. This prevents transactions being authorised by phone.

    Your post asked about head versus heart. If it was my very own long-departed Dad, I would not say "Ah bless, let him do it if it makes him happy." :rolleyes: I would be livid and vengeful; determined to protect him from exploitation. :mad: I would grind my teeth in fury at the sight of parcels of rubbish arriving addressed to Mr.A.A.M*******, a name that belongs to a man worthy of respect. A name that belongs to someone who would never have given house room to their shoddy gimcrack tasteless geegaws. :mad:

    My clever, financially prudent, father worked hard in a responsible job to accrue the savings that provided my parents with security in their old age. I would not want greedy strangers to get their paws on one penny of his hard earned money. If money was to be frittered, I would want it spent on local charities or in local independent shops, or on food treats, going out for meals, and visiting interested places.
  3. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    How about a pre-paid credit card? That way at least it puts a limit on the amount that can be spent. If he's got enough money to live on comfortably, it seems too harsh to say that he can't spend anything on what has become his hobby. And perhaps you could keep the card statements from him so he didn't stress about every detail, but of course you'd have to have an explanation on where the money on that card originally came from which might be more tricky.
  4. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    To edit his post, letting through only what you eventually decide is appropriate, could you put up a mailbox outside the house? That way one of you can check the post and then post through the door only the items you would be happy for your dad to see.
  5. Allypally52

    Allypally52 Registered User

    Mar 11, 2014
    Thank you Katrine - this is exactly the kind of reply I was hoping for (and when I show my husband this thread you'll probably hear him shouting 'AMEN'!) :)
    I'll respond to yours and other's suggestions when I have a bit more time but dad is asking me whether the post has been and if there's a bank statement or any parcels from Damart!!!
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I have to agree with Katerine. Let him spend his money on things of value but not on worthless ****, something he might not do if of sound mind. Frittering money away like this cannot be considered a harmless hobby - there are plenty of other pastimes out there that don't cost money, and I wouldn't enable him like that. Your husband is right in saying he has a duty to protect his money, and while he might be well off now, if he ever needs a care home, some of them are very expensive and will drain his money in no time, while you sit there trying to clear his house of the junk he acquired over the years.
  7. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    You can stop junk mail from people selling stuff by sending them a letter under S11 of the Data Protection Act - there's a draft letter of how to do it on the Information Commissioner's web site. Just get Dad to sign it.
    I think there is a problem with the question of capacity - if someone is capable of making the decision, you can't stop them, even though to you it's a bad decision. As I understand it, the financial poa does not allow you to take over completely until the power's donor is unable to deal with anything at all.
  8. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I know my mum was spending loads of money on mail order before everything went pop - we threw out a lot of gardening kit - 7 or 8 of the same item. I think sometimes she had genuinely lost them in the mess of her house but sometimes she didn't know what she had. We found carrier bags of supplements, much of which was binned. She had spent over £100 at a time.

    Pre dementia mum would have been horrified at the waste.

    Where she lives now she gets a catalogue through the door, and some of the stuff she buys is tat, but she enjoys it, and some of it is nice. As she is in sheltered extra care the rep checked with me via the reception desk before processing an order of £76 to check she could afford it.

    Like your dad she can, and years of care home fees as well. I decided that she was enjoying what she bought, and that if it got to the point it was too much I would remove her cheque book.

    Before reading people's comments I was going to suggest what Katrine has said and edit his order so he still gets some stuff through.

    Beetroot's comment about a bad decision and capacity - in my opinion there has been an over interpretation of the law in this area(I have no legal knowledge in this area), and if someone is making very different decisions to before, which can clearly be seen as a bad decision, they no longer have capacity to make those decisions, just like making a decision that washing is no longer necessary indicates lack of capacity to make that decision.
  9. alwaysfretting

    alwaysfretting Registered User

    Jan 1, 2015
    This is close to my heart as I've had the exact same experience and by the sound of it with the same company in particular and have gone through the same emotions. It would be great if this organisation could lobby the government to stop this prize draw marketing aimed at the older generation. I wrote to the company about mum to reduce the mail shots. Mum just seems to like buying as she seems to lose interest in things once they arrive. Fortunately I have got mum into a harmless hobby now which she is obsessed with and that has acted as a distraction. It seems to be part of the condition. I take mum to sainsburys each week now and we choose lovely clothes for her together instead of said mail order company. Unfortunately she also goes on the council bus each week and duplicates the pu4chases so I go to the customer services desk with her and we get the money back. She has even stood in front of a rack of tops saying 'this is nice' whilst wearing the same top and I've had some very odd looks!
  10. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    For me it's part of life.
    My son is 28, has severe learning difficulties and autism.
    If he likes a book (and believe me, his love of books would scare you) he wants every copy on the shelf.
    Troublesome when he's 6ft 7.

    Do I let him buy them all? No, he would buy all the stock of Waterstones in half an hour.

    His heart aches when I throw socks with holes out, so I do it when he can't see.

    Brain illnesses are the most challenging things to deal with.

    My Mam, who had dementia and was the most generous soul on earth, thought 15p was too much for a kiwi fruit but wanted me to have all the money she had.

    It's a fine balance, you need plenty of powder on your slippers when you're on a tightrope.
  11. In a Whirl

    In a Whirl Registered User

    Feb 23, 2015
    Do you have any idea why your dad is doing this ? Is it because it is a pleasurable experience or does he say he really needs all the stuff. If the former I wonder whether you could "divert him" into buying things that would be an investment.., .like gold coins not the commemorative ones though.. just a thought.

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