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Sorting out Money Matters - Where to get Help

mumof3

Registered User
Feb 6, 2006
82
I have posted once before on the 'younger people with dementia' site but as this is a general enquiry I thought this would be more appropriate.

My mother-in-law lives alone and has been assessed by Social Services as requiring 2 hours help 3 times a week and assistance with taking medication each morning and evening. 13 hours a week in total. In addition to this, she gets practical help and support from her sister, friends and of course myself and my husband. None of us, is in a position to help any more than we do at present on any kind of structured basis although obviously crisis are dealt with as they arise. She gets on fairly well with one of her carers and very well with the other so all in all it's working quite well.

We were asked to complete a financial assessment of my MIL finances last week and this has prompted us to start thinking about things. Looking at the limited info we were given, it looks as though my MIL will have to make a fairly sizeable contribution to the cost of her care. Partially I think this is because she is under 65. We are in Scotland. I don't know if this makes any difference.

She does receive the lowest level of DLA. She has had this for a few years because of arthritis. I wondered if she would be eligible for any higher rate of DLA because of the dementia even though she has not been diagnosed. If she was this would help to offset the cost of the care package which the Social Worker has said will inevitably increase. Money is one of the few things that upsets my MIL. She constantly says she doesn't have any and asks me permission before she spends any. Are we expecting too much by hoping that Social Services would advise on this. I can't help feeling that she is falling through the net a bit and don't know if this is because she is under 65.

My MIL has not been diagnosed formally yet although after more than a year of assessment she is now being referred to a geriatric pychiatrist. So we have not had any contact with the local AS group. She has also waited a long time for a Day Centre place which I feel would be very beneficial.

I just wanted to make sure that we are doing our best by her but don't quite know who to ask for help.

Also, the issue of Power of attourney. My husband is an only child and has dealt with all bills etc for a long time. Now my MIL asks what name she should sign on the cheque. It makes us think we should do something sooner rather than later but again, we don't know if we can if my MIL has not been diagnosed. Do we have to approach a solicitor and do we need my MIL GP to write something too?

Hoping someone with past experience can help us with this.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
- I was waiting for someone more knowlageable than me to reply but.... Certainly you do need to get an Enduing Power of Attourney. Very important whilst she can still write her name and has some concept of what she is signing.

You really do not need a solicitor for this - wast of money and will muddy the waters. The system is designed for people like us to use.

I recently went through this for my wife who has fairly advanced AD. It works like this.

Go to the link: http://www.guardianship.gov.uk/theservice/enduringpower.htm . You can download the forms or telephone them (for forms and booklets: 020 7664 7300) and they will put the set in the post to you - very friendly - helpful service! they will answer the Scottish question etc.. EPA Helpline: 020 7664 7327 or 0845 330 2963 (UK only).

It works like this:- You fill out the basic form and get your MIL to sign it with a witness. That's it! I do not thing there needs to be any diagnosis of anything as the important 'concept' at this moment is the sufferer knows what they are signing...................

When you are certain she cannot handle her own affairs - and I should leave it a month or more - then you must activate the Enduing Power of Attorney by sending copies to the 3 closest relatives, who then have the right to object to the Power, and registering it - a small payment for this I seem to remember.

That's it. Then you are legally responsible for conducting her affairs in her best interest.

I handle all my wife's affairs but do not refer to her about them - frankly I sometimes just forge her signature on things like tax returns as it is easier. Unless there are huge sums of money involved - selling her house - you just run the affairs the easiest way for you.

The help pack and forms are well laid out and user friendly - Good luck with it.

Michael
 

May

Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
627
Yorkshire
Hi Mumof3
We are currently going through EPA dealings for my Mum. We were advised by the CPN that it would be 'watertight' so to speak if we had a solicitor draw it up, and they would probably want a letter from Mum's doctor detailing her current condition to make sure she knew someone else would be dealing with her finances.(Funny really as Dad has ALWAYS dealt with all of their finances). I contacted a solicitor and the CPN was right, it was the first question they asked, to cut a long story short, Mum's doctor came out to see her and on the basis of their conversation ( I believe he did a MMSE from what Dad described)he was satisfied that he could write a letter for the solicitor giving the go ahead. No doubt there wll be an addition to the solicitors bill for that but I think it's worth it for peace of mind in our case. As to your MIL not being diagnosed anyone can have an EPA ( I have one filed giving my son epa, done just as Michael described from the downloaded forms without a solicitor) it's just not 'activated' until it's needed, which may be never. Also sounds like your MIL is less advanced than my Mum so if she knows what she is signing it's not a problem.Hope you get things organised for your MIL
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
I am of the opinion that the solicitor fee is really not a worthwhile expense and in all probability they will want to have input into the Power - which is the last thing you want as you will get a bill from them every time you want to do something on your MIL's behalf.

What is important is that the witness is aware that your MIL's understands what she is signing. From there the 'permission' has to be accepted by the 3 closest relatives and in doing that they are accepting the situation. Talk to the government department . When I spoke with them they said adding a solicitor was not necessary.
Michael
 

ludwig

Registered User
Feb 8, 2006
28
Hello Mum of 3,
My mum is in mid stage dementia. I am one of three children working as a team to keep her in her own home. I volunteered to sort the POA and look after the finances about a year ago when she came out of hospital after the diagnosis.
A POA is just a simple three page document which you, the person whom you are going to control the finances for, and a witness all sign. I work with a barrister who had a POA for his ill wife so I got the forms for nothing (I just word processed them, you dont need 'original' legal docs), you MAY be fortunate to do the same but if in any doubt at all go to a solicitor, its not expensive. There are things that you need to be careful of:
1. If you are one of several family carers, its better (in my view anyway) that one person has POA BUT that person must have the trust of the others, if you dont then its a recipe for disaster because of disputes etc. There are ways of getting joint POA but these can sometimes involve real hassle eg all the people with joint POA having to be present at a transaction.
2. Its better to have full POA (ie all their finances) rather than just some (eg my Mum was worried about losing her house so the initial POA excluded dealing in property. We realised last year that this could cause real problems later so I wrote her a letter rescinding the previous one and got her to sign a new one for all her finances as she already thinks shes in a home although she isnt).
3. Once you have this signed document you're off, but dont send it through the post. Contact all the people where she has funds and ask what material they want to support the registration, they'll advise, usually by return.
4. Its often easier to write letters from her and get her to sign, I've done this many times.
5. Be aware that misuse of funds under POA is a criminal offence so be careful!
6. Once the person is mentally incapable of managing their finances, you need to register the POA with the court, it then becomes legally binding with the person whose finances you look after being unable to rescind it. Up until this stage they can (at least in theory). This court registration costs up to £500 and you should do it through a solicitor to ensure its done right. We are at this stage now with my mum.
You can often get half an hours legal advice from local solicitors for a fiver, so check them out, I've done it and its really useful.
Incidentally I do all my banking over the internet and Barclays has added my mums account to my access so I can manage her finances from home though I live 65 miles away.
Hope this helps.
Keep smiling,
Ludwig
 

May

Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
627
Yorkshire
Sorry if you mistook what I wrote Michael. The solicitor has no input or control as regards the EPA, they have drawn up the EPA according to our wishes, with the knowledge that Mum understands what will happen and that is the end of their involvement.Best to cover all bases at this stage is the way we thought including any (highly improbable, but you never know) legal problems.
Best wishes
May
 
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mumof3

Registered User
Feb 6, 2006
82
Thank you to everyone. That has given us a definite way forward. My husband already deals with most of my MIL money affairs and she always says "oh my son looks after my money" so she does recognise this. She telephones every time a bill arrives and wants it dealt with there and then. We just didn't want to jump the gun but it does seem important to get the POA in place before it is actually needed. WE do have a solicitor in the family but I think it would probably be best to consult someone else if we decided to involve a solicitor. I will access all the recommended reading first and take things from there.

Again many thanks. You are a knowledgeable bunch!
 

Amy

Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
3,454
Hiya,
I would give a word of warning to anyone who thinks that they have time to get a POA. We thought we had time, then there was a sudden change, and now we have to deal with the Court of Protection. (Which isn't quite the nightmare and mixed up mess it was two or three years ago, thank goodness.)
The sooner you get POA the better; I think that goes for everyone, not just for our relatives with dementia.
Amy
 

Blue_Gremlin

Registered User
Mar 15, 2006
89
41
Morecambe, UK
Hi

Myself and my husband are currently looking into POA for my grandmother-in-law and we are a bit confused. At what point is it that you become unable to get a POA and have to go to the Court of Protection instead? We don't understand what level of dementia the person has to be at to make a POA not possible. Can anyone advise please??
:( :confused:
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
Epa

I thought we had to have a solicitor, but I am glad we did anyway, to interview my mother alone and make sure she knew what the form meant before she signed it. Now, she can't remember having signed it.

If I were to do an EPA I don't know whom I'd choose as an attorney. Wonder what happens if you don't have anyone?

Lila
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Hi Blue Gremlin

The best time to set up an EPA is now. The state of health is of no consequence if the EPA is set up with the proviso that the subject is "unwilling or unable" to manage their affairs for the EPA to come into effect.

My wifes EPA was set up in such a way 3 years before it came into effect and I have had no problem. At the time we set up Mary's EPA may daughter suggested that it would be wise to set up mine at the same time which I have done with complete confidence.

Incidentally our EPAs were completely DIY at the cost of a few pages of photocopying and Mary's has been accepted by all agencies. I will be happy to answer any questions on EPAs but please be aware that I am not an expert, just someone who has gone through the process without legal help or any problems.

Hugs

Dick
 

Amy

Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
3,454
Hiya Blue Gremlin,
Would your grandmother know and understand what she was signing, if not, it is too late (though you might be able to bluff it.)
Amy
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Lila13 said:
I thought we had to have a solicitor, but I am glad we did anyway, to interview my mother alone and make sure she knew what the form meant before she signed it. Now, she can't remember having signed it.

If I were to do an EPA I don't know whom I'd choose as an attorney. Wonder what happens if you don't have anyone?

Lila
I think you can choose a solicitor as an attorney, not sure I would though! If you don't have an EPA and become incapacitated and there is noone suitable to act for you then I believe the Court of Protection can appoint a receiver. I am sure there are costs involved in that though, over and above the costs that would be involved if a relative or friend was an attorney or receiver.

My only son is 17 and I am a single parent. I have thought about setting up an EPA once he reaches the age of 18. I assume an 18 year old can act as an attorney, although obviously I am hoping it would be never or at least many years before he would need to. I wouldn't want him to be in the position myself and my sister are in though, without either an EPA or Court of Protection order and with a greedy brother baying at our heels! There are some advantages in his being an only child!
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
I understood that the Court of Protection only become involved when EPA is registered.

My advice is : don't delay, do it now. It does not have to be registered immediately, but it should be put in place.

Connie
 

Amy

Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
3,454
We have Court of Protection involvement because did not get EPA signed - believed there was plenty of time still!
Amy
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
The Court of Protection can become involved if there is no EPA and the person has gone beyond the point of being considered competent to give a Power of Attorney, if that makes sense.

If an EPA is not held, as in our case, then we could apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as receivers rather than attorneys. However, from my limited understanding of this, it is more expensive and the receiver is more accountable to the Court of Protection than an attorney would be.

The sticking point for us for both an EPA or Court of Protection order is that at least the 3 nearest relatives, including yourself, have to be informed. My mother has 3 children - myself and my sister, but also my brother which is where the problem lies. He would possibly object to either myself or my sister or both of us officially taking charge of my mother's finances because his aim in life is to get hold of this money himself. We don't know where we would stand if he did raise such an objection and are scared to invite that.
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
The court will definately listen to both sides. Lionel's son decided to try to over rule my having power, but, after an uphill battle settled in my favour.

Don't be put off.......It becomes harder with time. We went through a very bad time. with Lionel becoming suicidal, but it worked out in the end. His son had decided he would like control of the money for himself Tough.

Do what you have to do, but do it now. Connie
 

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