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Do you know details of your parents finances?

(17 Posts)
Helgathehairy Wed 19-Nov-14 19:46:00

My Dad has been diagnosed with a terminal aggressive brain tumor. He's 87. Mum is 73 and has just broken her wrist. As a result Dad is in a community hospital for a few weeks.

The hospital has sent out a form asking for his income details and mum doesn't have a clue how much they have in the bank or where the bank account info is. Neither does Dad. He has a pension and 2 other very small incomes I know of but no idea where to find information or proof. Both of them just look at me blankly when I ask.

There's SOOO much paper/letters on every cupboard it would take weeks to go through everything.
I'm getting really stressed now.

CMOTDibbler Wed 19-Nov-14 19:54:29

I guess you don't have a financial power of attorney that will let you deal with it either?

Do either of your parents at least know who they bank with? If so, you could take your mum into the local branch, get them to print statements, and then you could prob track from there. Most oldies have any savings accounts with the same bank as their current account.

I have LPA for my mum and dad, know where their accounts are and where dad has filed stuff. But thats because I've been through him tracking it all down as mum did everything before dementia took control, and she used internet banking etc which all got lost.

Helgathehairy Wed 19-Nov-14 20:05:50

CMOT another Pratchett fan here! No POA. I raised the issue after his brother died 2 years ago and we had a few issues but he is a very private man and he just brushed it off. He was just after starting a new business venture in the last few months. He was only diagnosed 3 weeks ago and it looks like he'll only have a few months.

I know the bank and plan on taking mum in on Friday but they're so tough on identification and data protection im worried about them not telling us anything.

Hamuketsu Wed 19-Nov-14 20:05:52

Agree that getting into the bank (even finding one bank statement or bank book would get you in) with your Mum is probably the best way to start. Once you've seen statements you can start tracing the sources of the income. State benefits are coded on the statements under their N.I. number, e.g. SP (State Pension), PC (Pension Credit), AA (Attendance Allowance). If you don't have POA then you can still call on their behalf, but your Mum (or Dad if it's only under his name) would need to be on hand to state that s/he allows you to speak for him in each phone conversation. I know that's an awfully difficult situation just now.

Hamuketsu Wed 19-Nov-14 20:07:32

Is your mother likely to be a joint account holder with him on any of the accounts, i.e. entitled to see the statements? I don't know what banks would do if not, as only one of my parents is still alive.

Longdistance Wed 19-Nov-14 20:08:58

I'm so sorry about your father's diagnosis Helga

We've just had this with my df as they wanted to put him into a home. Your dps may be cagey, as it is really intrusive to let they people know your finances, when they have worked hard and saved all their lives. I believe the lower limit of savings is something like £26k (iirc), and any private pension and extra income will also be taken into consideration.

As it happens my DM is caring for my df with carers coming in 4 times a day, as she wouldn't allow df to go into a care home.

I do know the basics of how much my dps have, and what pensions they get, but they found it intrusive about a random social worker knowing, especially as we didn't warm to her in the first place hmm

RiverTam Wed 19-Nov-14 20:12:35

I worry about this as all I know is that a) there's a lot of money and b) it's all over the place, different accounts, pensions, stocks, shares, bonds and not all in this country. My dad died over 10 years ago and it took my mum for ever to get everything put in her name, the list of all the accounts was 2 columns of A4! The office at home is a mess, I just wouldn't know where to start.

I hope that if the bank people know you and your mum they will be sympathetic and help you out. So sorry about your dad's diagnosis.

pinkbear82 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:17:32

I don't know how much this will help or if it's possible still.

My dad ended up going on his mums accounts with her. Not because he wanted to know everything, but because Gran, well into her 90s was getting confused with direct debits etc and it meant dad could help her and not have to drag her into the bank or have her phone up etc. when she sadly passed at the start of the year it evidentially made it all simpler too.

Power of attorney is probably something to look into. Your mum may be grateful having you help her sort things now so it's one less thing when you have more to deal with later.

Fwiw I'm sure banks are used to the early days of getting things sorted and I'm sure if you take the paperwork in with you that shows what is being asked they will do what they can to help.

Good luck and thanks for the tough days.

Helgathehairy Wed 19-Nov-14 20:21:21

Mum is a joint account holder with Dad. im not even sure when they last accessed it. The pension they get in cash. They possibly have up to €30,000 in there.

I'm in ROI not the UK.

Liara Wed 19-Nov-14 20:25:33

I have a POA over my mum's account. It means I can do admin for her, as well as make sure nothing untoward is happening in terms of her investments (she is clueless about financial matters).

It is extremely helpful to her, and means I can deal with stuff more easily if something should happen to her which means she needs access to the money but is not able to do the actual authorisation.

florentina1 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:45:45

Do you know why the hospital want your dad's financial details. This seems unusual and is putting you under unnecessary stress at a difficult time. If your dad has to go into any sort of care the financials will be sorted out then. I would telephone elderly social care at your dad's local authority for advice. If you want to pm me I will try to help as I went through a very similar situation two years ago.

Helgathehairy Wed 19-Nov-14 21:07:40

florentina Dad is in a community hospital now, it's more of a nursing home than a hospital. He's well enough to not be in a full hospital but due to moms wrist he can't go home yet. Therefore an element of self funding kicks in. Charges kick in after 30 days which are up on 28th November but they're proposing to not discharge him till 1st December.

Helgathehairy Wed 19-Nov-14 21:08:30

Like I said, we're in Republic of Ireland, not UK and there's no NHS here, it's a different system.

whataboutbob Thu 20-Nov-14 10:39:43

Dad (who has Alzheimers) would never have had the foresight to give me a financial file, so I gradually gained a picture of his finances as bank statements starting appearing on the doormat. If your parents have capacity, then as another OP said visiting the bank with your mum, and her giving permission for you to handle financial affairs, is one way forward. It might be a good idea to prepare a letter of permission signed by your mum before you visit the bank(s) together.

Needmoresleep Thu 20-Nov-14 14:10:16

My father died of a brain tumour aged 87, 4 months after diagnosis.

First the positives, and there were some. He had been fit and well up to then, so no slow decline. He was not in pain. The end for him came in the form of a bleed in the brain, not uncommon apparently. So he died in his sleep at home, just at the point when he was starting to be incapacitated, and need extra support. I was able to visit almost every weekend and, for some reason each time seemed to be a clear and sunny autumn day. Looking back it was quite a special time, when I was able to offer support. A reversal of the previous relationship when my father would have offered me advice, but never taken it.

A few points:
1. He was frightened, though he mainly coped by denial.
2. My mother was frightened. In her case problems were exacerbated by unacknowledged early dementia. At times this took the form of real anger towards my father for "leaving her".
3. Instinctively or explicitly I think my father knew what was going on and was very concerned that I would continue to support my mother.
4. My approach was to visit frequently but not for long. I certainly did not want to be a "guest", and so always claimed to have eaten beforehand or even picked up nice things from M&S on my way down and then left the excess in their fridge. To a large extent they seemed to want to deal with it all on their own.
5. It is worth though seeing if you can provide practical support for hospital visits, and more. Sort out a disabled badge so you can park at the hospital. There is a form of emergency Attendance Allowance for those with terminal illness. Seek a referral for a MacMillan nurse etc. (And read MacMillans very helpful website.)

Now paper. I failed to recognise how bad my mum was so although I took over the management of a rental property which my dad had started fretting about, I did not insist he handed the rest over to me or briefed me. I would suggest you talk to your dad about him taking you through stuff so that you can properly support your mother. Losing a partner at this age is a major shock, and though she may be perfectly capable this is one area she might delegate to you. It is far from unusual for the surviving partner to become depressed or ill.

I instead had to sort stuff out after four years of chaos. So a skip full of paper, and even then a pile 4 foot high pile taking over the whole of the living room floor. No tax returns done, my mother had changed utility companies every couple of months, had about a dozen set of expensive insurance on her Sky box, had tied her money up into inflexible long term stock market linked savings vehicles on the advice of her bank and lots more. If anyone ever has something similar I advocate a hole punch and ring binders, with lots of dividers. Sort first into category: utilities, insurances, banks etc. Then resort by provider, date etc. It took four months to clear her flat and I was still finding important documents right to the very end.

If you can get agreement from both parents to your support try the following:
1. Wills, probate etc. If there is a Will find out who will responsible for Probate. If a lawyer check what will be needed. As I recall, even though everything was left to my mother, my mother had to have details of bank accounts, pensions and life insurances, and of properties owned, NI numbers etc. My father had left this in good order, so my mother was able to present a list. The lawyer, who was responsible for probate, was then able to inform pension providers, the land registry, banks, Inland Revenue etc in a fairly straightforward manner. Worth encouraging your dad to do as I think there is a deadline on submitting getting the probate done.

2. Power of Attorney. If you can persuade your father that you need to be involved try to get him to sign a POA. If you take legal advice you might be able to do something which enables you to run things but gives your mum full say. She should also sign something appropriate. This will take about three months to come through, but I found that the very fact that my mother had signed a POA, when she finally did, meant people were willing to talk to me.

3. Third Party Mandate. You can get forms from the banks. This adds you to the account and means that you can see statements, have your own cheque book etc. It happens within a week so far quicker that the POA.

4. Mail redirect. You don't say how capable your mother is, but imply your dad has always been in charge. Being recently bereaved is not a good time to start managing household finance if you have not done it before. When the crisis struck (my mum had a fall and broke her hip) I typed out letters to pension providers, utilities etc for her to sign asking that mail came to me. I also got her to sign a mail redirect form. One option might be for you to do this for a year, whilst she has other things to concentrate on.

In short though, talk to your dad about your taking on some of the admin burden leaving him and your mother to focus on the important things.

Helgathehairy Thu 20-Nov-14 19:35:40

needmoresleep that is a brilliant post. Thank you so much.

I'm feeding the baby at the moment but I'll be back.

PingPongBat Thu 20-Nov-14 22:39:23

Nothing much to add to the great advice of nms, but wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your dad.

It may well be a time consuming process sorting out the paperwork, but if you take a deep breath and be as methodical as you can about it, then files and folders will soon fill up and it will all start to make sense, and you can get rid of (or just put aside) the irrelevant stuff. That will make you feel more in control of the situation.

My mum & dad have what they call 'the letter', which dad is supposed to keep up to date with details of their financial affairs. It's 'sort of' up to date at the moment, and I know where he keeps it. They gave it to me to read a couple of summers ago when mum was really ill with Legionnaires - things came into focus for them, concerning their finances & how their children would have to deal with it all in the event that they couldn't. It's a summary of their accounts, income, pensions, savings, where their wills are etc.

I know they both felt very relieved when they had updated it, as it had been preying on their minds that it was out of date and not much use, and that worried them.

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