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Sorting out Money Matters - Where to get Help

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Grateful for help on this

New to the site, and feeling guilty about even thinking about money matters but reading previous posts on this thread have been really helpful - I planned to ring the helpline tomorrow for advice, but anything anyone can offer here too will obviously help.

Mum gave me POA over her bank accounts (all held with the same bank) some years ago when she faced a major op and realised she might not pull through. Not huge finanical investments to worry about - I think I have used it twice in about 4 years to withdraw cash from her branch when she has been physically incapable of making a withdrawal herself or I have not been with her at a cash machine to help her use her card!

This I am starting to realise is very different from the POAs we are all facing here.

I have been able to manage her everyday finances by setting up direct debits and speaking to utilities/insurance etc by ringing from her home on her behalf and them asking me to speak briefly to her to confirm it is OK to act on my instructions by asking her security details - like her own mother's maiden name - which inevitably she has to turn to me and ask what it was(!) (another issue for another time!)

My concern is mum is not aware of the suggested diagnosis. I feel if I start to suggest something like a POA she will panic. On 'lucid' days, she gets tearful because she can't cope 'with what is happening with my mind'.

I just got the appointment through for the psycho-geriatrician and I begged the doc's secretary to send the confirmationletter c/o me, not to mum. Mum was referred for counselling some years ago and refused all help when she saw 'Mental Health Trust' on the letter head, declaring she was not 'mental'.
(I see the word as being very differently used than it was a generation and more ago, but how can I expect her to?)

I love her to bits. I want to protect her. I fear if I broach the subject of money and 'estate' I look like I am trying to protect my own interests, and what little inheritance I might have (in financial terms). (I like to view 'inheritance' in emotional terms), but there are these damned practicalities to consider and what if I'm not there and some door-to-door salesman gets her signature on something (as one has managed to do already although for a fairly meagre amount) and she is short of funds we need to help pay for her on-going care....?

Sorry to ramble, any help and advice - very, very much appreciated - not just on the POA - how to explain what a psycho-geriatrician is and why a specialist doctor is coming to see her in her own house when it's not her GP in an emergency!!!!!

Thanks everyone. Have felt so much stronger today, already!
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
My understanding at the time Jan made out her EPA with me as attorney was that we made it, but a few months hence could not have done it, as her condition worsened.

The booklet from the Public Guardianship office cites that the person "can make an EPA, as long as they can understand how to do so and what it does".

I'd guess there is some degree of interpretation possible there.

In Jan's case, her ability to write, and thus sign the EPA was a faculty that was being lost.

I'd suggest calling the Alzheimer's Society Legal line, or call the Public Guardianship office, where they are also most helpful.
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
I can understand that anxiety about the word "mental". My mother wanted to go to her memory clinic and did go, but said "I don't want to get committed". And is luckily not generally in the condition of people who do get committed.

Lila
 

Blue_Gremlin

Registered User
Mar 15, 2006
89
41
Morecambe, UK
Tender Face - you sound like me

Hi Tender Face

I have just read your post and it all sounds sooooooooo familiar!!! We seem to be in the same place as each other right now although the person in my situation is my grandmother-in-law.

I hope we can help each other through this mine field.

Hugs

Blue_Gremlin
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
I haven't any children, and one of my worries is that my brother and then my niece would be next-of-kin, I don't know anyone in the next generation who would do all this ...

Lila

noelphobic said:
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!
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Blue_Gremlin said:
Hi

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:
If what I say is legally incorrect then I am sure someone will post!

A few months ago I set up an EPA for my wife with the help of the web site and some telephone calls to the web site help line and the excellent booklets that accompany the forms.... : http://www.guardianship.gov.uk/thes...duringpower.htm .

When the person who wishes to give EPA to someone else signs the form doing this they must be able to understand what they are signing.... The recipient of the EPA and the witness must believe that the sufferer knows what they are singing! Now how does anyone - even a solicitor who has no medical or psychiatric knowledge ascertain that? It is opinion. The signature on the form has to be witnessed by a 3rd party. Again that is opinion.... So the person who is receiving the EPA and the witness to the signature must 'believe' that the sufferer knows what they are signing... The signature can be an X - !!!

The reality for 99% of people signing is that they are already in deep trouble and whilst they can pay 'lip service' to their ability to comprehend the implications nobody would be asking them to sign if there was no mental / AD problem.

When the person to whom the EPA has been given decides to register the EPA legally they are OBLIGED to send to the 3 closest relations a copy of the EPA stating that they intend to take control of the sufferers financial affairs. The 3 closest relations have one month in which to object. This is the final safeguard except the courts can at any time look at any inappropriate in the handling of the sufferers funds.....

Given that all the 3 close relations agree to the EPA, then really there is no issue with the mental state of the person signing. The witness could be asked as to their concept of the mental state when the sufferer signed but just like the opinion of any solicitor it is just opinion.. Not a medical or legal fact - and certainly the 'courts' know this.

To sum up - the law recognises that anyone signing an EPA is probably pretty sick. Once the EPA has been legally registered and the safeguards are in place one can assume that there will never ever be any legal action concerning the validity of the EPA except in perhaps the extreme cases of 20 year old lap-dancers marrying 85 year old millionaire, divorced, older men - and then again it's all opinion.

For the above reasons I do not think solicitors are necessary as the web site and literature make the entire system easy - however if it makes people more comfortable then why not....

Michael
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Michael

Either I have broken the law on two occasions or there is no need to "register" an EPA.

I held an EPA on behalf of an elderly neighbour which was set up by her solicitor and he told me that the EPA came into force when she wished me to take over her financial affairs and that as long as I kept her informed of what I was doing on her behalf there was no need to register the EPA with the Court of Protection, until in the opinion of her doctor she was no longer capable of understanding what I was doing. On each deterioration in her condition I sought the advice of her doctor and I held the EPA until her death with no problems. The EPA was accepted without question by banks and building societies.

I have similarly operated Mary's EPA without problems for two years and this is a DIY EPA!

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had any problems leagal or otherwise with operating an EPA.

Dick
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Michael E said:
If what I say is legally incorrect then I am sure someone will post!

When the person to whom the EPA has been given decides to register the EPA legally they are OBLIGED to send to the 3 closest relations a copy of the EPA stating that they intend to take control of the sufferers financial affairs. The 3 closest relations have one month in which to object. This is the final safeguard except the courts can at any time look at any inappropriate in the handling of the sufferers funds.....

Given that all the 3 close relations agree to the EPA, then really there is no issue with the mental state of the person signing. The witness could be asked as to their concept of the mental state when the sufferer signed but just like the opinion of any solicitor it is just opinion.. Not a medical or legal fact - and certainly the 'courts' know this.
Michael
My understanding is that you must inform AT LEAST the 3 closest relatives, but this can include yourself. So, for instance, if you were the spouse and you had 2 children they would need to be informed. However, if there are more than 3 relatives of the same degree of closeness then they all have to be informed. Therefore if you were the spouse and you had 8 children then all 8 children would need to be informed.
 

pammy14

Registered User
Dec 5, 2005
103
leicestershire
I have used EPA for my sister for the past year and have not regustered it with anyone, A solicitor drew it up and said to just use it at banks. pensions etc. Didnt mention registering it anywhere. had no probs
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Dick, Noelphobic, Pammy, hi,

Thank you for the posts... really do not want to set myself up as a 'sea lawyer' on this but woke early and got the forms and books out.

There is no doubt that for the EPA, to be fully operative, it has to be registered. There are two stages - the first is when the sufferer is mentally capable. The 2nd stage is when the Attorney feels the suffer has become mentally incapable - then it needs to be registered. Fee of £120 and can be another £100 if the 'court' ever decided to do an Audit. - However the EPA helpline 0845 330 2963 would give a definitive answer. It is certainly possible to operate an unregistered POA on behalf of someone but 'theoretically' you must consult the person over all the things you do on their behalf... I think this is really taking the financial day to day strain off the person concerned. You probably could not 'sell' their house or shares but for daily 'ordinary' financial activity being unregistered appears to be an option and legal. It really should be registered if the person concerned becomes ga ga... It would appear Dick or Pammy have been doing it correctly because the person concerned has not lost their mental ability to make reasoned decisions.....

Noelphobic I think you are correct - it is at least 3 and if you are one of he close relatives then then you can include yourself. There is an order of priority for the minimum of 3 laid out in the booklet 1-9. 1 is the spouse. 2 is the Children so if there are more than two children then all in this category have to be told including adopted but not stepchildren.

The booklet does also say if large amounts of money and a complicated estate then a Solicitor might be helpful but I think for most of us more ordinary mortals the instructions, guide booklets and helpline make it a pretty straightforward job.

Gulp! No expert - I have just been quoting from the very well written and informative booklet from the Public Guardianship Office. All I was really saying in my post was that with the helpline and the excellent literature that accompanies the form there is no reason for the average person to pay solicitors! The government have made this a DIY job.

Michael
 
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Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
3 close relations

I wonder who the 3rd would be given that my mother has 2 children and 4 siblings.

Would she be allowed to choose which sibling?

I am sure many would be in that situation, also some have more than 3 children.

It is sad that I can't trust my brother and niece who would probably be among my closest 3.

Lila
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Lila13 said:
I wonder who the 3rd would be given that my mother has 2 children and 4 siblings.

Would she be allowed to choose which sibling?

I am sure many would be in that situation, also some have more than 3 children.
Lila
All 4 siblings would have to be informed in your mother's case.

If there were more than 3 children then all the children would have to be informed.

My closest relatives would be my son, then my mother, then my brother and sister so they would all have to be informed. It does seem ironic that this is the case even when it's for an EPA that is supposedly written when you have all your faculties. It seems wrong that someone you have little or nothing to do with can register an objection to your choice of attorney. It is more understandable with a Court of Protection order though.
 
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Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
I am just trying to imagine getting my brother, 3 aunts, 1 uncle, and me to agree about anything!

Lila
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Lila13 said:
I am just trying to imagine getting my brother, 3 aunts, 1 uncle, and me to agree about anything!

Lila
It's more a case of them not disagreeing. If they want to object they have to write to do so, they don't write to say that they agree. Therefore, unless they feel particularly strongly about it a lot of people won't bother and will just see it as a formality that they have been informed.
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Michael

O dear! I sold my neighbour's house using an unregistered EPA as my authority and nobody queried my right to do so. Hope you will all visit when I am "inside".

Dick
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
DickG said:
Michael

O dear! I sold my neighbour's house using an unregistered EPA as my authority and nobody queried my right to do so. Hope you will all visit when I am "inside".

Dick

Let me know the visiting days!!!!

The booklet is indeed ambiguous about unregistered POA - I suspect the registration bit is fairly new legislation and was put in place to protect 'neighbours' from unscrupulous folks like you..... Seriously, I get the impression that the registration is in fact only really necessary when the sufferer is truly out of it and then gives all the close relations a chance to object or shut up unless they think that financial impropriety is going on.... In which case the 'court' can take action. I am no lawyer but it really does seem a pretty efficient and foolproof system.

I think if one was in complete control of one's senses when you signed a POA and a close relative objected to your choice of Attorney then you would simply tell the 'court' to tell your close relative to get stuffed!!!! The problem of course is that most people signing are already on their 'way out' or we would not be wanting to take on the responsibility - so the 'checks and balances' seem pretty good to me.

Michael
 

Blue_Gremlin

Registered User
Mar 15, 2006
89
41
Morecambe, UK
A major setback

Just been to visit my grandmother-in-law to explain the concept of an EPA - she had no clue what I was going on about. She didn't even remember the last time we acted on her behalf with the insurance company (when she left the cooker on and set fire to her kitchen just before Christmas) :( We have no chance of getting an EPA.

To make matters worse we mentioned that the doctor is coming to see her on wednesday and she went mad!! 'He can just go away again' 'What does he want' 'I'm not letting him in' and other such rantings. I think I managed to calm her down by explaining he is just coming to talk to her to check she is ok - didn't dare mention the idea of home help :( or the fact that he is brining the woman from social services with him and that her sisters are coming too!! *bangs head on desk*

Things seem to have gotten a whole lot worse in one short visit. Don't know what we are going to do now. :confused:
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Michael

I am sure you are right that the EPA business is ambiguous and perhaps that is one of it's strengths.

Blue Gremlin - this stage of AD is a bitch and I hope that like me it will prove to be such a stage. With Mary I used moral blackmail - " I know that you don't want to do this but please just do it for me". Perhaps it is not a nice way to behave but if it works.... Sorry I haven't any answers.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Blue_Gremlin said:
Just been to visit my grandmother-in-law to explain the concept of an EPA - she had no clue what I was going on about. She didn't even remember the last time we acted on her behalf with the insurance company (when she left the cooker on and set fire to her kitchen just before Christmas) :( We have no chance of getting an EPA.
Things seem to have gotten a whole lot worse in one short visit. Don't know what we are going to do now. :confused:
Blue Gremlin hi,

Frankly I suspect the legislation is constructed the way it is in order to let you take over your grandmothers affairs even with her present mental state. Just get your grandmother to sign the form... If she cannot sign the form then you need a 2nd witness.

When you come to register the form - perhaps a month or so after you have obtained the signature or non signature then you must obey the rules about informing the 3 next of kin - as posted above. You will still be liable to the court if you misappropriate the funds.

I am fairly certain that the new legislation constructed to allow the 'Nelson effect' of putting a blind eye to the telescope and 'not seeing' the signal. If it was good enough for Nelson it is good enough for you. Put a blind eye to just how bad the AD is (and it can vary daily as we all know) try to get a signature if you can and if not use the 2nd witness escape...

You are not going to rob her - I hope - she is not a millionaire I assume and all this is to help manage her daily administrative affairs. Just go ahead with it - the other safeguards will also safeguard you provided you are behaving honorably.

If what you are trying to do is to help her and make no gain yourself, then I am certain that there will never be any problem.



Michael
 

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