Rock and a hard place - Registered EPA

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Lucille, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hello

    I have registered EPA for my mum. In September last year, I dutifully went along to the bank to let them know. It was evident that the bloke I saw was pretty clueless and disappeared for 20 minutes during our meeting (presumably to seek advice). This, despite me seeking assurances when the appointment was made and a few days before when I reconfirmed, that the person I saw would know what was what.

    He said: "As you already have an (unreg'd) EPA for your mum, it will be fairly straightforward." I had already got a daily withdrawal limit against her account (with me being contacted if she tried to go over it) and a variety of other measures. All this to allow her some independence (doesn't live near me, is still capable of going to bank and withdrawing money, but not administering the account, if you know what I mean ... as in, "mum you're nearly £500 overdrawn" - "oh, am I? Never mind the manager will give me a call.")

    Since the visit to the bank, I have had to telephone them several times when mum withdrew monies that were in excess of the limit. I was given different reasons why this had happened and apologies. Of course, as Christmas approached, mum went into 'present frenzy' unconvinced she'd bought anyone anything, she went out and bought loads of stuff, several times over, accompanied by regular visits to the bank. I thought I would put it in writing to the bank what had happened and that despite their assurances, they were allowing the withdrawal limit to be exceeded. I have now had a response from them saying that in effect I have what they call a 'third party mandate' and I am NOT allowed to dictate how much my mum can and cannot withdraw. Unless she becomes mentally incapable, then I should consider changing the account.

    Now then! I was never informed of this when I went for the meeting. In fact, I was quite open and honest with the fella I saw and said what mum's cirumstances were and that I had registered the EPA on the consultant's advice. (And after all, doesn't the registration of an EPA mean that I believed the person was becoming or had become mentally incapable! Also I said that on the face of it mum can 'walk the walk and talk the talk' (sometimes), but that things are not what they appear! I live XXX miles away and whilst she can still get around under her own steam, could they let her have access under this arrangement. He didn't suggest there was any problem. Changed her statement addresses to mine and we tidied up her various accounts.

    I now feel that I am caught between a rock and a hard place. If I pursue the issue with the bank, will they stop mum from withdrawing money altogether as she is 'incapable' or do I leave things as they are and, potentially, allow her to withdraw larger sums than I feel are appropriate for someone in her situation?

    I do feel aggrieved that having done my utmost to be open and honest with the bank, I now seem to be hoist with my own petard!

    Anyone had any similar experiences?

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Oh dear Lucille, I feel like 'where have I heard all this before?' You have advised the bank you have registered EPA but they are trotting merrily along under the guise of a Third Party Mandate!!!!????? :eek: I am just concerned for you that when the penny drops (excuse the pun) with some more intelligent or better-trained clerk that they will do as my mum's bank did to me and completely freeze all her accounts ....... with unregistered EPA the bank were prepared to allow mum a card with restricted withdrawals .... once EPA registered - zilch!!!!! The global 'incapable means incapable' ......:mad:

    As EPA you have responsibility ...... and so I would suggest - no you can't leave mum to get herself into debt - which it sounds like she is very capable of ..... but then how to manage the practicality of making sure your mum does have access to an appropriate amount of cash? (I appreciate you can't exactly nip to the cash point on her behalf when you need to) .... Possible to set up a regular transfer to another finanical institution where she would be allowed to withdraw (under your authority as EPA) ....... but keep the balance limited? Absolutely no-one personally or professionally locally that could 'hold' a wad of cash and give her an allowance? (Sounds awful I know, but I feel like I am giving my mum 'pocket money') Sorry, if I can think of anything else I'll update ......

    In the meantime, you have my every sympathy on the Christmas spending ..... in my case it's the sales that have got mum ...... only been out twice, but with her eye to a bargain we have more half-price diaries and calendars (all totally inappropriate) than a well-known High Street card shop ...... fortunately for me it is not breaking her budget and given her much pleasure buying things because they 'look nice' ......

    Sorry if that's not much help - will get thinking cap on .....

    Love, Karen, x
     
  3. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hi Karen

    Your comment is ideal. Of course, it would be even better if the financial institution were my mum's bank!

    The issue I have with all this is that as Attorney for her I don't see why as the account should have been set up on that basis, that I can't give access to her to withdraw limited amounts. Surely, I have a responsibility to protect her and the bank from mis-use of her money. It seems with the current arrangements that she can have it when she is compos mentis, but not when she is becoming mentally incapable. How annoying that people are written off like this. Sorry, rant over!:)

    You are right, there is no-one close by to whom I can entrust money and it would mean me leaving mum with wads of cash lying around which I'm not happy with. Also, the issue I have with mum is that until she is physically incapable of getting to the bank, she will continue to go. So, the bank will be faced with having to tell her two or three times a week that they can't serve her. Perhaps I should present them with this as an option! :D

    I smiled about your comment re the 'better trained clerk'. I had a letter from the bank saying they'd consulted their legal department. On the basis that I visited the branch with a registered EPA and mentioned the 'Dementia' word, you'd think their legal department would have pulled down the shutters by now.

    Your thinking cap and mine ... I think :D

    Cheers and many thanks, Karen or should I say Calendar Girl ... I had that last year; this year I was only given three. Mum didn't want them back as she knows what day it is!
     
  4. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Oh rant away ..... it infuriates me that bank staff (and I am an ex myself!) are well trained in dealing with issues like money-laundering/trafficking etc and some less than salubrious folk who might darken their doors .... but when it comes to helping vulnerable people (and their carers) manage finances it's a whole different ball game ...... :mad: ..... all about their protection and profit .....

    Cynicism aside ..... it is not for you to protect the bank - but sadly - in spite of all legalities and logic I have found if it is 'against their policy' (i.e. the bank's) we are up against the proverbial brick wall ...... if you give authority for mum to have a certain amount of cash from a certain account you are only accountable to the Court of Protection .....(should it ever be questioned) ... convincing the bank of that, certainly as I found in my case, is another matter..... :(

    Your mum is obviously a 'known' to her branch (unlike the majority of customers these days) ... surely a separate account can be set up from which she is allowed to withdraw whilst you administer the main account where income and essential expenditure is managed? Sounds to me like they have 'screwed up' big time - get 'em while they are on the rails!!!!!! :p

    Hang on that humour, Lucille, often methinks it's our best asset - there has to be some way round this .......

    Love, Karen, x
     
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    #5 jenniferpa, Jan 7, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
    Lucille - I don't know if you've seen this http://www.bba.org.uk/bba/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=138&a=10884

    I was fortunate in a way - my mother had become increasing housebound prior to her strokes and had almost completely reduced her need for cash so when I took over her affairs I could just "take them over". I was in the process of registering the EPA when she died.

    Karen is the person I always think of when it comes to "how things can go wrong when you talk to a bank about an EPA" (sorry Karen) since her mother's bank seem to have gone out of their way to be difficult. I didn't find my mother's bank very helpful either. On the other hand I "think" that when she did get it sorted out they still allowed her mother to have access to her accounts, while other banks have been more rigid about it. (Correct me if I'm wrong please Karen :)).

    Also look here http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=7890
     
  6. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Thanks, Karen and Jennifer. I've looked at the links and will sleep on it all.

    Inevitably, since mum's Christmas present frenzy and bank withdrawals, she has not been near the bank!!:rolleyes: I have just now, rather naughtily and, I suspect highly illegally, transferred money from one of my mother's bank accounts into another of her bank accounts so she gets a better interest rate! Ooh slap my hand for being soooo responsible!

    Karen, love your phrase 'screwed up big time':D

    Cheers again, both.
     
  7. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    [QUOTE: Jennpa: ]Karen is the person I always think of when it comes to "how things can go wrong when you talk to a bank about an EPA"[/QUOTE]

    Oh dear - my dad always said I'd be famous!!!!!:D

    Actually Jennfer, my mum never did gain access to her own accounts again - for several months I had to 'play the game' that she was never short of cash (in fact had an excess at hand around her house from my own pocket so that she was prevented from knowing) - until it was a better time to explain that whilst I had suggested she was becoming 'mentally incapable' ...... the bank saw her as 'totally' incapable .... this is where I have so much sympathy with Lucille - as no doubt many others.... mum can still take herself off to local shops .... she can enjoy meals out and a shopping trip with friends .... she CANNOT manage paperwork, she could be hoodwinked by a doorstep salesman etc etc ....... I feel like Lucille that this 'blanket recording' of EPA registration seems to infer that 'we' have written their capabilities off completely .......

    This is probably coming at a bad time - although things with mum are generally good - I am STILL in battle with a certain UK utility company after 12 months who in spite of giving me written acknowledgement of their recording of the registered EPA will not discuss my mother's contract with me ....... insisted just recently 'It's not what it says on the screen'. Talk about Little Britain and 'Computer says no'! :eek:

    Not much practical help still, Lucille, just huge empathy and sympathy - we really don't need this .......

    Love, Karen, x
     
  8. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hi Karen

    Yes, this is exactly what gets my goat! Her 'administration' skills have disappeared but her ability to do other things have not gone.

    Don't get me started on utility companies. Mum's phone company received and signed for the copy of the reg'd EPA. Denied it. Told me to write to another address, which didn't appear anywhere on their headed paper. I have since sent two letters - the last one was a formal complaint to the address they suggested. Guess what? No reply! Rather amusing considering their name (won't mention it but am sure you can guess!).

    Well, have slept on the problem and still haven't come to any conclusions about the bank.

    Thanks again. Am pleased to be 'conversing' with such a luminary of the EPA/banking world:D:D

    x
     
  9. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Long shot .... ????

    How about a safety deposit box at the bank? (They must still do them? I know I'm a bit of a dinosaur!:p) .....

    Say you visited once every four weeks ... you withdraw sufficient cash to cover four weeks of spending .... place a 'weekly amount' of cash in an envelope to be sealed and lodged with the bank ..... you then give authority to the bank to hand over an envelope each week (they could even be forward dated?) Technically your mother isn't making 'withdrawals', you are .... (well, only in a physical sense ......). Bank doesn't even need to know if it's cash inside them ......

    No doubt would be some kind of charge to look into but as long as it was 'reasonable' sure that would be seen as OK by COP? After all, in a sense it is another 'cost' of trying to care your best for your mother?

    Sorry, could be a real long shot ...... but might be worth some investigation with mum's particular branch?????

    If I get any more whacky ideas I'll keep schtum!!!!! I'm still trying to work out whether being a 'luminary' is a compliment or not!!!! :D:D

    There WILL be a solution to this Lucille!!!!!!

    Love, Karen, x
     
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    I don't suppose she's able to use a atm with a pin? Because if she could, then a pre-paid atm card might work. Alternatively I "believe" that I have heard that a social worker can act as a conduit for cash. That of course presupposes that you can get your (and her) head around the idea of someone else doling out cash that is in fact hers. I still think there should be some form of basic bank account that simply won't allow you go overdrawn - is this such a bizarre concept?
     
  11. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hi Karen and Jennifer, thanks again.

    I guess the main factor which is something I can't do anything about is that whilst she is able, mum will want to go into the bank and withdraw cash over the counter. Anything else, she either won't understand (as in, there's nothing wrong with her so why the change in arrangements), or if there was an outside chance of her accepting her illness (which there isn't), then she wouldn't remember!

    So, this leads to PIN numbers. She can't remember them, so at the moment she can only go into the bank and use a cash card (not Switch) and they handover the cash. I have reduced her overdraft limit and would be quite happy for her not to have an overdraft limit. Jennifer, as you say, it's not such a difficult concept. (Mum's bank do in fact offer a basic bank account that doesn't allow overdrafts/cheque books or switch cards).

    However, from what Karen has experienced and, I think, from what the bank are suggesting in their letter. She is either capable or not. If only mum's dementia were that simple!

    The bank's approach is interesting as I have a friend who has short term memory problems due to strokes brought on by epilepsy. Like mum, she can't 'administer' things, paperwork and such like, but she is perfectly capable of living in her own flat, going out and about etc. So, how can banks square the 'capability' issue? Beats me!

    And so I'm still thinking about it!! I am now waiting to see if the bank have not only lifted the markers on mum's accounts re her withdrawal limit, but also changed the address for her statements - they currently come to me, along with any cards, (they recently sent her an internet 'sentry' and a chip and pin card! which I have disposed of. If they have changed all this back to her address, then I will have to step in.

    Still thinking .... :)
     
  12. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    I was looking on the guardianship site for something else and came across this http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk/docs/EPA101-1007.pdf

    "Can the Donor still manage their own affairs?
    Registering the EPA means that the Attorney takes over full
    responsibility from the Donor for managing their property and
    affairs. This means the Donor will be considered as unable to
    manage their own affairs. Should the Donor feel they are capable
    of being involved in managing some aspects, it is for them and
    their Attorney(s) to decide how this should work."
    EPA101_1007.indd 17 14/09/2007 10:08:17

    In other words is up to you and her to work out a division of labour, if you like, not for the bank to impose their own rules on you both. I doubt you'll get the bank to agree though.
     

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