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I need to rant about banks and power of attorney

(13 Posts)
whataboutbob Thu 29-Aug-13 13:45:18

I have had POA since Oct 2012. i approached Dad's bank to get access to the account so as to pay for necessary expenses. First off, I gave the wrong documents, it took about 2 weeks for this to emerge. Then I gave the right ones, but they lost them in the system ,then found them again and eventually I was allowed access to his account. After christmas, I was given a bank card and pin number. The card had Dad's name on it, I thought nothing of it and used it to re pay myself when I made necessary expenses on Dad's behalf (never big sums). Eventually I asked for access to internet banking and was given a log in. A few weeks ago I needed to arrange significant renovations on Dad's flat which had become very decrepit. I was unable to access internet banking because I do not have something called a card reader. Cue me asking for a card reader which was duly despatched. I was also informed that I had been "illegally" using Dad's account because I should not be using his card, but mine!
So to recap:
I should have asked for my own card and PIN no on Dad's bank account
I needed a card reader to do online banking
I needed my own log in not Dad's for internet banking.
NONE of this information was made available when i registered.
I am £7000 down as I have paid for the repairs on Dad's flat out of my own money.
After twice requesting my own PIN and not getting one, I let rip (politely, but just) today and said that if it is not forthcoming I will make a written complaint.
I think there should be an info pack from the banks to those with POA to tell them from the start how to go about managing a POA account
You should be offered a meeting with someone at the bank who has specialist knowledge of POA. A lot of the info I was given by cashiers, advisers etc has been WRONG. I told that to the woman in the trouser suit and she said she'd "pass it on". It's awful enough having responsibility for someone with dementia, as we all know, but we don't need the banks to make our life even more difficult and stressful.
Thanks, I just needed to offload

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 29-Aug-13 13:55:30

Oh dear Bob, that sounds nightmarish sad Is that Barclays by any chance ? I had problems at first with them but hold an account with them myself sorted it.

It was all complicated. I don't use my card for Mum's account to access Internet banking, it's been linked to mine and all got very complicated. Agree that there should be a pack. You don't know that the card you get issued comes with your name plus POA after unless you actually know that so how can you know it's wrong if they don't explain in the first place.

whataboutbob Thu 29-Aug-13 14:17:45

Thanks Wynken. It s not Barclays, it s another of the big high st banks. Unfortunately I don't bank with them. I guess eventually it ll be sorted but it s long time and a lot of cock ups to wait. I told them they need to improve the way they deal with POA holders because we are only going to grow in numbers and this isn t good enough. Phew, feel a little better now.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 29-Aug-13 14:42:21

Goes to show there's more than one who is rubbish then. You're right, they need to sort themselves out, there will be lots more people doing it.

Needmoresleep Sun 01-Sep-13 12:03:55

I am mainly through this but it has taken ages. My personal theory is that my parents must have studied the "best ISA" list each year and ended up with a different provider each time. Over several decades! And half set up on-line. I really have visited every bank in the high street.

Knowledge through experience:
1. Adding your name to an existing account as a third party is quicker. Good advice I had from one bank was that it is worth getting those forms signed at the same time as the POA. You then have access to the money during the three months whilst the POA goes through and however long the bank needs to sort out their systems.

2. It was far quicker in most cases to write letters for my mum to sign which either closed accounts or changed address. By and large I used her old address for the accounts that were to be closed and relied on mail forwarding as banks don't like "c/o" addresses. I also got her to sign cheques for key expenditure, though and with advice from health professionals, I am holding onto her cheque book.

3. Most call centres are hopeless and refuse to go off script. They rarely have a script for POA. If the person on the other end does not know what they are talking about then call again. (On probate most banks have a probate department who you should ask to speak to directly.)

4. I used bank branches, either where my mum lives which has a high proportion of elderly, or in Central London where branches are big so there is usually someone senior you can speak to. Some of the local branches were hopeless. They recognised my mum but still insisted on two (driving licence as well as passport) pieces of photo identity. Awful as she was in convalescent care and had carefully "hidden" important documents such as her driving licence. I dont think I ever got anything sorted in less than three visits, though it did not feel so bad when I witnessed one poor manager of a High Street Bank spend over an hour trying to get the information he needed from his Head Office. He was supposed to register the POA on-line when I brought in the documents, but his systems would not allow him.

5. Other things are equally complicated. I tried to set up a single easy-access ISA but wanted an on-line one as the interest rates are much better. Impossible as a POA but I was able to leave this as a challenge with the most helpful bank manager and he sorted it.

6. Once sorted the card reader has been great. My mother now has a single current account which I can use for both POA accounting and for tax. I also have access via my phone. It also allows me to have a clear view of how much surplus or deficit there is on a day-to-day basis which will enable me to make sensible future financial decisions. If you dont have easy access to your dad's money I would be tempted to set up a short term account with your own bank and to use solely for his affairs, getting your dad to write an initial cheque to cover future expenditure. It is surprising how the small expenditure (regular shopping and household stuff) can add up especially if you are moving someone and preparing their own home for sale or rental. So much easier if you have a debit card to pay with and not have to dig into the bottom of your handbag for receipts and then spend time trying to work out what was spent.

Sorry a bit of venting here. It took months and I don't envy others battling the system.

IwishIwasRiverSong Mon 02-Sep-13 19:27:14

My sisters and I are in the process of registering our father's enduring POA.

What is the card reader?

Needmoresleep Mon 02-Sep-13 21:01:54

Its something that some banks offer with on-line banking. You stick the debit card in and then can pay bills etc. Tempting if you have only your parents card, to use that. But illegal. As is sticking the wrong card in a hole in the wall.

However you need someone sensible in a branch to tell you that you need a both a card and a cheque book in your own name, plus your own registration for on-line banking - and where applicable, a card reader.

(I might confess that on one of my visits to a branch, I suspect to set up this on-line savings account, the manager needed me to log-in to my mums account. I did not have my log-in number with me but my mum's computer generated number is quite memorable. So he let me log in as her....)

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Mon 02-Sep-13 21:15:04

I had most trouble with the red one that used to sound like somewhere Monks would live. I am still receiving letters addressed to my dad and he died in November hmm, The solicitors wound up all his affairs about 2 months ago!

They were a pain in the arse, whatever department I needed to deal with.

NatWest on the other hand were fabulous, (and I don't bank with them) so I'd be surprised if it's them.
I feel for you, Dementia is a horrible disease. I hated sorting all the money, it felt wrong to be spending it, even though it was all on dad's bills and essentials.

Rant away, I have lots of things I ranted about.

Needmoresleep Mon 02-Sep-13 21:50:50

Hah, I know the one you mean and they were not great. Indeed I ended up having a tearful wobbly at one point when faced with a completely jobs-worth cashier. The manager had to come out, though he was lovely and we were able able to compare note on the care homes our mum's were in. (When things were at their worst I was far too tired to be embarrassed.) I am still struggling with that one which sponsors F1 who keep sending my mum £0 statements but wont let me close the account. She has to.

I have put everything into NatWest because their branch staff were the most helpful. Nothing was straightforward, even with them, but at least I have phone numbers or emails of individuals within both my mums branch and the nearest to me, and so can access help to get things sorted.

Skipton were also good, but most of the others were pretty awful.

In case it is of use, and I assume others will need to take account of the £80,000 limit on protected funds in any one bank, perhaps if they are having to manage house sale proceeds, is that i have set up a Hargreaves Lansdown account and am purchasing "conservative" investments. The advantage is that unlike banks where the money needs to be tied up for a period in order to earn decent interest, you can sell things quickly if the money is needed, or at probate. They also promise to provide a single annual statement for tax purposes. I may be wrong but it sounds easier than flogging up and down the high street with my passport and POA document.

Another thing to think about is the need to inform the Land Registry. Apparently there is some fraud which has people identifying people who have moved into care homes but who still own mortgage-free properties, and getting these properties transferred into the fraudster's name. The fraudster then takes out a mortgage. You can get the property back but remain liable for the mortgage. Your current address needs to be added to the land registry so that you will be informed, should someone try to transfer ownership. Inevitably the Land Registry have lots on what to do to prevent fraudulent ownership transfer of empty properties and mention people who have moved into care homes as a specific risk, but no information on what they need if you are doing this as POA. Each week presents a new challenge......

seventiesgirl Mon 30-Sep-13 20:45:51

"Woman in the trouser suit", thanks bob that made me smile!

Great thread, thanks for the info. Not at this stage with my parents yet but won't be far off unfortunately hmm

Needmoresleep Tue 01-Oct-13 08:45:07

My advice above was pretty chaotic.

If your parents have significant assets, the work is likely to be spread unevenly, or there might be dispute amongst siblings, it is worth using a lawyer for an LPA. You can then agree process, and charging and the latter acan be added to an LPA as a condition. I insisted on the ability to charge, not really for the money itself, but because I thought I would feel resentful if I was doing the bulk of the work and was also out of pocket. Sitting down in advance and agreeing, with your parents, how decisions will be made could save real battles and misunderstandings in the future.

POA is an administrative function. Your parents should not worry about their decision appearing to favour one sibling over another, but should instead consider who is best qualified to take it on. Proximity, skills, commitments etc. Much better for one person to be lead, with roles for others agreed. The sister living abroad can come over to help provide respite breaks, or help with a house move, but probably is not the right person for the day to day admin.

Checks and balances can be agreed in advance. For example I have offered my brother read access on my mums internet banking and a print out of her Hargreaves Lansdown account. He has not taken me up on it - perhaps because this is sufficient to reassure him that all is transparent. An alternative would be to have the accountant who prepares the tax return to prepare an annual Attorney statement.

Make sure there is an alternate for if the Attorney is incapacitated.

Again if there are significant or complicated assets, you might make provision for the Attorney to get on going advice. I probably need some as decisions I make will not only affect the inheritance of others, but could have tax or criminal (scarey, but even something small like making a Christmas gift to a really good carer is potentially a criminal act) implications. However without this in the LPA document I have to fund it myself.

Also before it is needed, try to get your parents to list their assets incomes and bank accounts, and where they keep key stuff like passports and driving licenses. Ideally they will start allowing you to "help" with their tax returns. Better still they agree to use an (your) accountant as their agent, so if something sudden happened the accountant can speak to HMRC even if LPA documents are not through.

Registering LPAs is a pain. The only solution I have found is to go into a larger bank branch with the original document, your passport, driving licence and a recent utility bill, get them to make their own copy of the LPA (so no need to pay a solicitor to certify - and they tend not to like own certifications) and let you fill out forms there and then, which they can then check. Then take the name and a phone number of the person you spoke to, as it is never straightforward.

I have just been Googling registering an LPA with HMRC, as I found a whole lot of tax letters in my mums flat. She happily says she is ignoring them as she doesn't mind if they send her to prison...I cant find any advice other than a paper designed for HMRC staff, and even that is unintelligible. Bulletin boards suggest that this is a general experience. The advice again is to take the original in by hand to the local office and have them photocopy. Things, apparently have been known to get lost. My task for this morning.

Melfish Mon 18-Nov-13 22:38:06

Needmoresleep, just stumbled on this thread, you've probably found this out, but just in case.. I have just registered my DF's PoA with HMRC, I posted the POA certified copy to them via special delivery with a cover note explaining the PoA and who I was. I needed to quote both mine and DFs NI numbers but it seemed to be registered ok and I was surprised to get the PoA doc back in one piece. I do a paper tax return for him, I'm not sure what the procedure is for an online return, but when I rang them they were helpful, albeit slow to pick up the phone. Sadly I now have to sign and deal with his tax return from now on, DF is pleased about it though.

Needmoresleep Tue 19-Nov-13 11:25:45


I live fairly near a tax office so went in. Turned out I needed to make an appointment so went in again the next day. They took a copy of the POA, which was good as I did not want to send it off - I have needed it so often. They then gave me a date when it was likely to be registered and suggested I phone then to check. This is next week (so quite a delay). If anyone needs to speak to the Revenue on behalf of a parent in a hurry, the quickest way is to get your parent to sign a form allowing an accountant (or perhaps yourself?) to act as agent.

Another task ticked off.

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