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PoA - paper trail

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PoA - paper trail

First of all apologies for the length of this post and I fully understand anyone who wishes to skip over it Wink
Things have deteriorated with mum's memory to the point that she frequently fails to remember things that happened and conversationsjust 10 minutes ago yet she is lucid in her conversations and an assessment at the GP seems to indicate that, apart from memory issues, she is not showing any signs of dementia.
It is obvious she cannot cope with her finances at all now (something she agrees with whole-heartedly) and I am taking more control on her behalf using the Power of Attorney granted to me.
Most things can be dealt with by Direct Debit/Standing Order for which there is a trail be it a paper or on-line statement which suffices.
But what about those things that can't be covered that way like the paper bill, paying the builder for work being done, etc? Under the PoA I have the authority make payments on mum's behalf and cover any expenses I may incur (e.g. using a solicitor and so forth) but agreed I would not take any payment personally for anything I do in executing my duty.
Is it enough to simply ensure I get receipts and file them away in a folder in case they need to be checked sometime in the future or do I need to make use of an accountant? I don't really want to spend mum's money that way but I also need to ensure that whatever I do is seen to be legal and above board.
One other thing is mum has been going to the building society to draw money out with her daughter-in-law's (not SWMBO) son's partner then on to shopping. Her credit card is always used for shopping and I check that regularly online. I also know how much she takes out of the building society as she asked me a long time ago to keep an eye on things for her. What I have noticed is that she often takes £100 or £200 out but rarely has much of it left in her purse. Yesterday she took out £300 but only £65 left. We've accounted for some of it as she pays her daughter-in-law's and and partner £25 each every week for taking her shopping and doing a little housework. So now we have another £170 or so mum can't account for. I know mum of old was very careful with her money and never spent it willy-nilly so I am concerned where it is going. If she has chosen to give it away or spend it frivolously then that is her choice and I have to respect it but I doubt the latter and very unsure about the former. I wanted to ask the person who takes her out if he knew where mum may have spent the money or what she could have done with it - no accusations just a question - but mum keeps telling me not to as she doesn't want to upset anyone. Again, she's asked me to leave it although yet another £170 can't be accounted for.
I have suggested mum writes a note of what she spends on a piece of paper and leave it in her purse but she always forget to do this. She suggested only I take her to the bank/building society so I know why she drawing out money and where it goes which is practical but others will still enquire why I am involved now and that still leaves more than £500 unaccounted for over the last 6 months or so. No-one else in the family (apart from SWMBO knows that I have the two PoAs yet but I have been in touch with a solicitor as to how to go about telling those who need to know when the time is right.
I'm not sure how to proceed so would like any suggestions as I have to bare mum's feelings in mind but also do what's best for her and her money.

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nanotm
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Re: PoA - paper trail

as to the first part yes keeping the records of any odd bills like that would work, to be on the safe side you could create a ledger and note everything down in it as a sort of logbook assigning a number to each invoice in the front of the file (so someone could just scroll through the book instead of needing to view every receipt) for most things that would suffice although when the time comes you would most likely be required to surrender it all to an accountant.
as to the latter, you could arrange with her and the bank/bs that she can only withdraw x amount on her own and anything more requires your oral approval at the time she asks for it, that way you can be informed of why she needs more than she should do and note it down.
it might put a few noses out of joint but it would be safer than insisting your the only person allowed near her (people get funny about that sort of thing)
as to the p.o.e.
ensure that her medical file has it listed and that adult social services are informed (in case they need to contact you about her needs or wants) but don't tell the rest of your family unless you want them to fight to get the same, such things only cause grief especially if you already have any bad feelings and can create unnecessary stress and turmoil if things are working fine now
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
alanf
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Re: PoA - paper trail

Message removed. (Misread earlier post).
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Re: PoA - paper trail

Just had a quick look at the replies before I get some sleep and will read more in the morning.
Yes, I do have both PoAs. The Health and Welfare is registered at mum's GP ready but that can't be used until such time as the donor lacks mental capacity whereas the Finance and Property one can.

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Re: PoA - paper trail

My first thought is........ "why does she need to get so much cash from the bank/building society?"  Yes, she will need "some" cash for odd bit... inc the £25 for cleaning/shopping services... but just about everything else can be paid with a debit card at point of sale.... even coffee and cakes !.. if you suggested she used a debit card, then those transactions would be recorded on the bank account, without her having to remember them... also, she would have the card receipt in her purse....
I am specific here, that it should be a DEBIT card and not Credit card.... for obvious reasons... just need her to make sure she knows which one she is using....
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Re: PoA - paper trail

I think you have somehow to nip this in the bud very quickly. It might be only £170 now but what might it be in future. If you think it's going to be awkward tackling it now, it could give a far bigger bust up in the future.
I'm puzzled as to why you are keeping the PoA secret. Just knowing you are keeping a close eye on her finances might be enough.
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Re: PoA - paper trail

@nanotm I may give the ledger idea a go. In fact I have accounting software for my personal use which I'm sure will fulfil the requirements along with keeping all paper records in a folder. I actually get some receipts in emails but they are easy to print.
@shutter
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"why does she need to get so much cash from the bank/building society?"
This been my exact thought. Last time I went to the bank with mum was when she was being taken by my sister-in-law's son's boyfriend - we just happen to meet in town. I stood back as an observer and mum simply got out a piece of paper from within the society's passbook that gave an amount to withdraw but no reasons for it. When we were on our own I asked her why she withdraw the amount she did and she had no idea only that it was on the bit of paper - in her handwriting. The son's bf insists he gets no money for taking mum shopping once a week yet my sister-in-law says he does. There is a lack of trust in these people and not just by me! As mum only goes out when someone can take her I can't see any justification for the larger withdrawals especially as she rarely seems to have much left in her purse.
Sadly mum doesn't understand debit cards. Even her credit card is signature only which does (hopefully) ensure no-one else can use her card on her behalf.
@jelv On May 2 x £500 was withdrawn on the same day from two different accounts within the same building society. Mum had a note in her purse that she lent my sister-in-law £350 and £25 was spent on something else. She also paid the gas/electricity from it but, again after taking into account what was left in her purse, around £250 couldn't be accounted for. I have no problem with asking around if anyone has a clue where the money is being spent. If it's all above board then fine. If it puts people's nose out of joint then so bit it as I have to consider mum's best interests.
I am keeping the PoA secret due to trust. The fact that both my brother and sister-in-law are still pushing to have mum assessed as having some form of dementia despite an assessment just over a week ago with a GP where she felt mum had full capacity to understand even though she may forget shortly after is worrying. Mum even had a long chat (on her own) with a solicitor yesterday and he told me after that he had no concerns as to mum's understanding of what was discussed. He even said that mum wished him to inform me in writing of their discussion. My brother has, for many years, made it clear that as the first born he should control everything and inherit everything. Mum spent much a time a few years ago considering the implications of making the PoAs and had long discussions with long-time friends and neighbours before going ahead choosing me as the sole attorney.  We had discussed both mum and dad's wishes over many years anyway and she obviously felt she could trust me and I don't want to let her down. My main concern is that if my brother and sister-in-law know about either PoA they may try to convince mum to cancel it meaning that her wishes may never be carried out as she expressed to me. I have sort advice from a solicitor on this and am waiting for further advice.
Thanks for the replies. I never expected the PoA to be an easy task but not having any other family it's nice to know I can rely on the good people here to help with advise or comments Smiley

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Re: PoA - paper trail

Perhaps I am reading the wrong things into this but your mother must have had a very good reason to agree that you should have Power of Atterney over her affairs rather than another family member.
The fact that money is unaccounted for is of serious concern and the answer may well be that she has given the money to strangers or even lost it and no one would ever like to think or accuse a family member of taking it, however you are the person responsible and will be held to account if money goes missing and you are unable to say what has happened to it.
Personally I would ask the bank to give you total control over your mothers money so you can draw out what she needs and give it to her in small amounts.
It's odd to think that as young children our parents had control over what we did but as adults we are faced with a role reversal in situations like this and it's not an easy role to undertake.
nanotm
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Re: PoA - paper trail

a word of caution, as your keeping the poa secret (and in my mind wisely so) if you start asking around then you will raise questions and suspicions unless the accounts are all in joint names with you and your mother.
if you have the bank agree that no cash withdrawal may occur above a fixed sum without your verbal approval (set the limit sensibly at say £200) over the phone when the amount is requested so that it can be recorded and you cant be held accountable in the future for any wrongdoing on the part of others, alternatively go down the cash allowance route, but if you do so then you may well raise suspicions because of the change in routine (ditto if you swap over jobs so that your the one doing everything).
given the info you've illustrated in your posts thus far and your wish to maintain the secrecy of the agreements (which inadvertently protect your mother from being deemed incompetent as she's already signed over her rights to you) then your options are broader than they might appear, since your effectively able to flex any controls necessary to protect her and her assets, the drama would be in keeping that secret and not involving your blood relatives in the process they may well start being unfriendly over things (i say this from experience of ending up inadvertently as  holding POA over a friends parent as I had no vested interest in their assets). you will need to choose how closely to monitor her accounts and what action to take about things very carefully, it might be worthwhile getting a voice activated button cam for her (like a broach) if she agrees to wear it in order to verify what sort of things she does when out and about (like getting her helper to carry her bulk of cash and then forgetting she did so thus loosing it) which might seem a bit OTT but would be in the best interests of everyone involved to find out what is going on ASAP, to either  prevent loss or to provide piece of mind for yourself that nothing untoward is happening, however you must have your mothers consent to wear your snooping broach  or your breaking the law (get her to sign a release even if she wont remember it later) and then its also admissible as proof of wrong doing if any should be captured.....
it sucks to have to do it but best to cover your ass and hers from future ramifications
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Re: PoA - paper trail

I suppose money concerns were simpler for me as I had my Mum living with me so I never bothered with PoA. Basically I just made sure I had access to her account online and she was happy as I always made sure she had a small amount of money in her purse.
Of course it was in some respects easier for me as in later years she never went anywhere without me.
Except for the one time of the full scale police search.
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Re: PoA - paper trail

Easier for me as well as I had power of attourney over my late mother and having no other relatives  was never required to explain what I was doing, unfortunately my mother had to go into a Nursing Home and the fees at that time were nearly £300 a week, her house had to be sold to cover the cost and when the money ran out I had to go to the DHSS for them to continue to pay these fees, fortunately I kept. Every receipt I got from the sale of the house, other property and receipt for the Nursing Home fees so no problems but I spent well over one hour going through all this stuff with them so it is essential to keep records,
NB Hope nobody tries to advise me of ways around not having to sell my mothers house to pay the fees as I looked into that very carefully with people who worked in Social &  health care and there was no way around it,
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Re: PoA - paper trail

Thanks for all the remarks and details about keeping a record of transactions.
As I understand it if someone wants to question my actions they can apply to the OPG who will investigate. I know everything I do will be for mum with her best interests at heart but I need to ensure I am covered. There has never been good blood between myself and only sibling due to actions on his behalf which I won't go into here and the abuse he gave SWMBO a few years back so I fully expect him to 'kick off' at some stage.
I don't want to go down the route of recording mum's actions but I need to make everyone aware that I know what goes in/out mum's accounts. Actually, my brother did state a few weeks ago that he knows that I can access mum's accounts so I simply responded that it was with mum's full permission.
What I have decided to do, for now, is go with mum to the bank with whomever else takes her and actively ask why money is being taken out at the time it happens. I will make notes when I get home for a record. Presently she is taken on Wednesdays but I half expect that to change once I start going as well - we'll see.
Not sure if the banks can or will stop mum getting money out of her accounts (whether over a set limit or not) while she still has capacity. A bad decision does not necessarily mean unable to make the right decision. However, reading as much as I have found regarding PoA and the Mental Capacity act it seems that I feel mum is no longer capable of looking after her own finances I can take full control. Part of the problem for me is not wanting to take that control so as to leave mum feeling helpless and inadequate.

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nanotm
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Re: PoA - paper trail

indeed it is a delicate and precarious balancing act, either way you run risks but often its safer to let the person over whom you have PoA act as normal as possible otherwise there might become problems between you and them (overbearing and controlling....) or they might just curl up in the corner and withdraw and become less capable in other areas when one of there key responsibilities is taken away from them.
as to the withdrawal limit, its possible to have one put in place but you might be required to get a court order to force them into helping do it (some banks will when shown the paperwork do it as a matter of course) because it is an act of deprivation of liberty and some point blank refuse such things (unless you have a personalised joint account), as with anything though its never a one size fits all policy and your best suited to know what fits your circumstances best Smiley
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: PoA - paper trail

When debit cards first appeared, I was sceptical about using it.... and always went into the building society to get cash out, to see me through the week... slowly over a long period of time, I got used to the idea of sticking the card in the machine, tapping in 4 numbers and hey presto it`s all paid for....
I am sure if you took your mum out with a debit card, and showed her how easy it is to use, she would soon catch on... and you can always play the security card ( no pun intended).. of her having cash in her handbag that can be seen from a few yards away as she peels off the notes to pay for things... ( mugging... in the offing )... Of course you will (probably) need to know the pin number but I am sure that will be OK as you already have POA...
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Re: PoA - paper trail

Mum likes to have her building society passbooks to see all transactions. The idea of using the machine and getting a paper receipt to keep till she updates her book is exceptionally alien to her. She is totally stuck in her ways with this and I have to accept it as her choice.
Her actual bank account is rarely touched. Recently I set up Direct Debits and Standing order for all her utilities, council tax etc as she was simply forgetting to deal with them. Thankfully, under the PoA when I log into my accounts there is a button to quickly switch to view hers and deal with any issues that may have arisen to to simply ensure there are enough funds. I do hold debit cards for her accounts but, where practicable, I want to help her to feel that she still has some control even if the reality is she hasn't. Literally within minutes of getting any cash out she has forgotten she even went in the bank.
I'm quite certain my brother, if I were to give him a copy, would simply tear up the PoA and that's why I will get the solicitor to send it to him at the right time with full details of what it means for both me and any one else dealing with mum.
Bearing in mind what I know of mum, my intention to ensure her best interests are maintained and the comments here I will monitor her withdrawals till the end of July as requested by mum. For some reason she seems extremely concerned that my brother and sister-in-law don't get upset yet doesn't seem to show the same concern for me  Roll eyes Part of that could be because she lives with them and not me. She frequently tells me that if try tries to tell them how she feels about things s-i-law puts on the tears and then mum feels she gets ostracised by both for a while. Of course, they have both denied it blaming it on mum's memory and the fact that they believe she has dementia.
Apologies to all for taking up so much time with this but is really has been good for me to discuss it outside of the family and with people who know neither of us. Kiss

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