Should I register Mum's EPA while she still lives at home?

Alloway

Registered User
Apr 26, 2009
30
0
Southern England
Mum has dementia, which has slowly but progressively got worse over the past year or so. She set up an EPA in 1997 with me as the appointed attorney. Up until now I've been aware of this but felt she was managing reasonably well enough for it not to be necessary to register the EPA. Since my father (the only other attorney) died several years ago, I have helped Mum with all her financial affairs such as checking bank statements, advising her where to invest her savings and ensuring all bills are paid by DD etc.

I now think we've got to the point where I feel she can't remain living at home on her own for much longer - even with the help of a paid carer I arranged to come in several times a week to do basic housework and check all is OK. There have also been several worrying incidents of her being cold-called by salesmen (I can think of a more accurate name for these parasites but will not use it here in the interests of politeness:mad:) who succeeded in getting her to sign up over the phone to credit cards, unnecessary "home emergency cover", satellite TV breakdown insurance etc... I'm terrified she'll be sweet-talked into a major financial committment like double glazing or a dodgy investment policy.

In my view, she is now in the situation the EPA was intended to cover and I'd like to register it, so I can formally manage her property and affairs and have the authority to deal with companies/organisations on her behalf. I'd would also like to get her moved into a suitable care home where she will be safe and properly looked after - but this will take some considerable time and effort as she is strongly opposed to this.

So... am I doing this in the right order (i.e. register the EPA first, then do the move into a care home)? What will happen in the meantime when she is still at home (and therefore needing to use bank account for shopping etc)? I'd really like to get some control of her bank account (so I can monitor transactions and prevent unwanted DD's from being set up). Do I inform the bank of the EPA and if so, when? Thanks!
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
30,204
0
Bury
You should register the EPA when your mother 'has become or is becoming incapable of managing her own affairs' , whether she is in a care home or not is irrelevant, the process will take several weeks and may be complicated by the death of one of the attorneys.

What you do before that is a problem, if the bank consider that she has become incapable the regulations say they should lock the account and only allow access to a person with a registered LPA / LPA or otherwise on the direction of the Court of Protection. The EPA can be used as a general power before registration unless it contains a clause preventing this which means that you may be able to use it with the bank as a matter of convenience rather than because of incapacity, you will need to find a bank employee who understands EPAs and does not jump to the conclusion that your mother is incapable. Would your mother be able to attend the bank with you and maybe help explain why she wants you to use the power?
 

Alloway

Registered User
Apr 26, 2009
30
0
Southern England
You should register the EPA when your mother 'has become or is becoming incapable of managing her own affairs' , whether she is in a care home or not is irrelevant, the process will take several weeks and may be complicated by the death of one of the attorneys.

What you do before that is a problem, if the bank consider that she has become incapable the regulations say they should lock the account and only allow access to a person with a registered LPA / LPA or otherwise on the direction of the Court of Protection. The EPA can be used as a general power before registration unless it contains a clause preventing this which means that you may be able to use it with the bank as a matter of convenience rather than because of incapacity, you will need to find a bank employee who understands EPAs and does not jump to the conclusion that your mother is incapable. Would your mother be able to attend the bank with you and maybe help explain why she wants you to use the power?

Thanks for the reply. I spoke to the solicitor this morning - his advice was hat I should go ahead and register the EPA (which would not be a problem at all with regard to the death of the other attorney as it was set up to be "joint and severally"). However during the course of the conversation with the solicitor he also said that the bank may well lock the account if they got wind of a registered EPA. As I explained to him this would be a huge problem while Mum is still living at home (over 110 miles from me). On this basis, my thoughts now are NOT to register the EPA yet but go to the bank with Mum and get myself access to the account so I can monitor on-line and block unauthorised DD's etc.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
30,204
0
Bury
"...On this basis, my thoughts now are NOT to register the EPA yet but go to the bank with Mum and get myself access to the account so I can monitor on-line and block unauthorised DD's etc...."

If it's just this one account you could consider making it a joint account, doing it this way your mother need not attend the bank all they would want is an application to make the account joint and the usual proof of your identity, if you happen to have an account with the bank they automatically have proof of your identity.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,442
0
One thing you should consider and I assume this is the point of your solicitors comment: some banks can be very difficult about allowing the donor to continue to access the account after an EPA has been registered while allowing access by the attorney. I'm assuming that this is the thing you are concerned about. However, if you are not careful, the entire account might be frozen and neither of you will able to access the account. I realise that this is a doom and gloom posting but I do think you have to be very careful about how you handle this.

Actually, I think going to the bank with your elderly mother might itself be a potential warning signal for the bank. How unconfused do you think she is likely to be? Because if she sounds at all confused that might be the trigger to lock the account completely. Whereas if your register the EPA (and I would say at this point that you really are legally required to do so at this time) no one will be contacting the bank for their input, so there is no reason that they would have an inkling that there was an issue. Then with the registered EPA in hand you at least would be able to access the account, and if the specific bank was difficult about giving her access you would be able to set up an account at another bank.

You could try the third party route - where you become a signatory on the account but it isn't a joint account, but many banks do not allow 3rd parties online access (at least not officially). As for making the account joint - I do think that this is also potentially fraught since even if it is possible to do this there is the consideration that assuming you are in England, if one party loses capacity then the joint account should be frozen anyway. In other words there is no protection in that situation.
 

Alloway

Registered User
Apr 26, 2009
30
0
Southern England
Wow - this looks increasingly like a real minefield. I appreciate all the advice but it's not at all clear what the best option is. I can't be the first person to have this predicament - so just surprising there isn't a more "tried and tested" solution here...
 

tre

Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
1,352
0
Herts
With regard to the phonecalls there is a device you can buy for around £100 called trueCall and it can be set up to answer the phone and only allow through certain numbers you have advised as friends and family and will block nuisance calls including international calls and withheld numbers. It also has a call recording feature so if anyone did missell anything to your mum you would have the evidence. Might be worth a look.
Tre
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
30,204
0
Bury
Wow - this looks increasingly like a real minefield. I appreciate all the advice but it's not at all clear what the best option is. I can't be the first person to have this predicament - so just surprising there isn't a more "tried and tested" solution here...

Every situation is different hence no 'fits all sizes ' solution.

My analysis of your situation is:-
Your mother has dementia and in your opinion may soon have to go into residential care.

You are worried that she is not coping financially ie she is becoming incapable.

you have an unregistered EPA.

You do not live locally to her.

As you consider that she is losing her capacity you have a legal duty to register the EPA, you might as well do this as it will take several weeks and the registration is invisible to the bank.

When you have the registered LPA is when the real problems start. If you present the LPA to the bank you will be able to take full control of your mother's finances but you will lock her out of her account. If she is in a care home this should not present any problems but if she is still at home you have to make some arrangement for day to day living. As your mother is incapable you cannot open any basic bank account and you therefore have to rely on some trusted local third party to provide her with funds, whether this is possible or not depends on your mother's attitude to the situation and the existence of a suitable third party.

My conclusion is therefore register the EPA, monitor the situation, investigate third parties, and when you receive the registered EPA make a decision.

Additionally if your mother has internet access to her bank account you could monitor her account with her knowledge but in contravention of her agreement with the bank.
 

rajahh

Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
2,790
0
Hertfordshire
I have EPA on my husband, which is reegistered .

I went to his bank and asked if he would still be able to have access. I asked 4 different employers over a few months before finally making the decision to put it into force. On the morning of doing it I asked again ad was assured he would still have access.

Within a week my husband got a letter telling him to destroy his cheque book his bank card and telling him he had no access at all!!!!!!

I asked the bank if I could take it back and the only way was to go to Court of Protection and get it toally rescinded!!!!

In the end I moved his account to a different bank, my husband came with me and we explained what was happening. We opened a joint account with either to sign, and on death the other one would have comp;lete access.

The EPA is not taken into account at all by this bank.

We got an apology and a hamper, but it caused a lot of hassle and arguments and tears. My husband thought I was dismissing him completely and it really disturbed him.

This does not help you with regards to cold calling salesmen, but hopefully it will warn you enough to make absolutely sure what the consequences could be.

Get the opinions in writing. Each bank has a power of attorney dept and these are the people to ask.

Jeannette