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PoA for MIL with dementia

(16 Posts)
AngryRabbit Sun 27-Dec-15 18:07:43

Hi, just wondered if anyone has experience of getting PoA for an elderly parent - no idea how to go about it.

MIL has dementia and it's getting worse, she's just been with us for three days and we were shocked at how bad she is now, she got progressively worse over the short time she was here too.

Today DH drove her home (min two hours drive so not local) and there were two letters from her bank saying they'd refused to pay a cheque she'd written for a large sum (five figures), as she had insufficient funds. Unfortunately they didn't say who the payee was.

Of course she has no memory of anything, and wouldn't have even if she'd written it quite willingly herself, but there are massive alarm bells ringing - either she was conned into writing it or someone has done it fraudulently. (She hasn't bought or paid for anything like work on the house that would cost that much, we know.)

She did say recently that one of her other (adult) DGSs had been round and stolen £25 from her - she also accused us of extorting money from her, back when the dementia first started, so we thought it was more of the same but now we are wondering if there's a grain of truth there. It's very difficult as BIL and his family have pretty much gone NC with her and also with us, so it's hard to know what's going on, whether the DGS even visited at all. (She has historically always favoured DH over BIL, and BIL's been the classic scapegoat, hence them going NC.)

Anyway, DH obviously wants to contact the bank ASAP but without PoA we presume there's not much he can do, doubt the bank will even tell him who the payee was for this cheque. But she really needs protecting - if the cheque had been for a smaller but still significant amount that she did have, they would presumably have paid it and she would have had her account completely cleared out.

She is also getting to the point where she can't manage alone, although she has (just about) till now. She needs carers and ultimately possibly a care home, and she has a fairly decent pension and some savings so again DH would need to have access to her money to organise that, we cannot afford to pay for care for her ourselves.

So how does he go about getting PoA? Can anyone advise? All we've managed to do so far is get her to give consent for her GP to discuss her medical issues and care with DH, which was a start, but obviously not much help here - and that was a big enough struggle to sort out!

Sorry if this is all a bit unclear and TIA if you can help.

CMOTDibbler Sun 27-Dec-15 18:16:01

You can either do an LPA yourselves or through a solicitor - it is pretty straightforward. The gov website is very clear and tells you what to do.

The issue in your MILs case may be whether it is judged that she still has the capacity to sign - I was very worried in my mums case whether this would be the case.

Once it goes to be registered, ask for notarised copies from the OPG or solicitors if you use one as you'll need the originals to trail round banks etc. It has been found by people on here that it is very useful to google the banks policy on PoA and print the webpage as most staff have no idea!

cecinestpasunepipe Sun 27-Dec-15 18:23:28

I think you need to involve the police, also to let the bank know that you think she has lost capacity to deal with her own affairs, maybe backed by a letter from her doctor. If she has lost capacity, which sounds likely, it is too late to get a poa, and you will have to go through the Court of Protection to be appointed his deputy. There is lots of good information on the Alzheimers Society website. I am in a similar situation with my husband who has suffered a sudden and devastating decline in his dementia - no five figure sum cheques involved, thank goodness.

Wavingnotdrown1ng Sun 27-Dec-15 18:36:23

Doing it through a solicitor is best, especially if there are some issues with other family members. It can take quite a long time for all of the paperwork to come through, as increasing numbers of elderly people are needing to make these arrangements and the key question in your family's case is whether there is capacity or not in the decision-making process. Also, it is common for dementia patients to accuse others of taking money, giving it away, losing or stashing purses etc in peculiar places in the home as part of the illness. Regarding paying for a care home etc, my relative had to be admitted to a home suddenly after a series of accidents caused by the dementia symptoms. The LA took a charge against her house and paid most of the fees until her house was sold. These were then repaid after her house was sold so we did not have to pay any fees personally.
Consider whether the financial POA is sufficient or whether you should also have the other kind that will empower you to make medical and care decisions. For others in a similar position, it is easier and cheaper to arrange POA before dementia etc sets in and you can do it on your own behalf as part of making a will.

AngryRabbit Sun 27-Dec-15 19:47:22

Thank you so much for your replies, there's so much useful information there, from all of you.

Yes, not sure whether she will still be deemed to have capacity. A year or two ago she was in terms of her medical care, but I'm not sure now. Also, I think a doctor friend once told me that you can be assessed for capacity in different areas at the same time, and you could be judged to have it in one area but not another. But she is certainly approaching the time when she will no longer have it in any area, I fear.

Good to know about the deputy process if it comes to that. And yes, DH will definitely need to have some kind of medical PoA too, ultimately. It would have been great to set this up when she was much more compos mentis, but she's never been the sort of person you could have a reasonable conversation about something like this with, she would have been very upset/offended before the dementia set in; even now she fights tooth and nail against the suggestion that she needs help. And since the dementia, her short term memory is ruined, so any conversation you have with her is forgotten in minutes.

If we can still do a PoA I will certainly take that advice about printing off the bank's policy, good tip!

And yes, the police definitely need to be involved. I really don't think it was her DGS, don't think he's even been there in quite a while, but obviously someone has been up to something. DH said there were quite a few cheques missing from her cheque book with no counterfoil written (all her normal ones did have the counterfoil filled in, so she's still on top of that) and this person has tried to present the cheque twice now, so it's all very worrying.

Thanks for the info re LA payments for a care home, we could end up with a similar situation so it's good to know there's a procedure for getting payments made in the interim before her home is sold.

And ceci so sorry to hear about your DH. It's hard enough when it's a parent but it's kind of semi-foreseeable at least; but when it's your partner, it must be devastating in a different way.

TheFuzz Tue 05-Jan-16 05:30:47

We did it ourselves. There is a huge amount of form filling but it was necessary. This was for my mil who is physically disabled. Needed it as she refused to be involved in her finances after FIL died.

Not easy. You download the forms then need witnesses to signature. You'll need to ensure your relative is lucid and knows what they are signing.

DesertOrDessert Tue 05-Jan-16 06:30:41

My parents are a similar distance from my Grandmother.
It is very time consuming, but she has now got to the point of my parent ringing whoever needs speaking to, Gran doing the security check (!!!! Hopefully passing it), and then telling person to speek to her child.

Yes to ensuring she has the compression of what she is signing, or BIL can make it void by showing she was not fit to make a POA.

GoodLuck. It's a stressful time, and why I've told DH when we return back to the UK, he IS to get a job either near my parents or between both sets if parents (2 siblings to help with PiL, just me on my side, hence the bias). Trouble is, not much near my parents in DHs field...

Needmoresleep Tue 05-Jan-16 10:59:05

Its difficult. If she is willing to sign and your BIL wont actively object to your DH having POA (you could offer to let him have an annual summary if you think there may be a trust issue) then:

1. Go to her bank and ask for a third party mandate form. This means you get access to her account, cheque book, internet banking etc.

2. Suggest your DH takes over paperwork. Prepare a pile of letters to people like utilities companies for her to sign to utilities saying mail should be sent to you in future. Then take as much paperwork as she will let you. Honestly its not hard once everything is set up on the internet (indeed that might be a good reason to give her). I set up a small linked savings account with a debit card which does not allow direct debits or overdrafts and which I can top up on my phone, and took away my mother's chequebook as she had been giving away her bank details to cold callers. Once admin is set up its not a lot of effort and far easier than sorting out a future mess.

3. Find a trusted authority figure and ask them if they will witness the POA. The priest did it for us. Solicitors will need to be careful about capacity, whereas a witness who knows her well may be confident that her intention and best interests lie in you having POA. Your BIL will need to sign but effectively to sign that he is happy with you not him taking on the rersponsibility.

The POA will take about 3 months but the third party mandate is pretty immediate.

Confused people often suggest things have been stolen because they cannot admit their own failings/confusion.

Small but important point. If she is a home owner make sure you give the land registry your contact details as well as hers. They allow up to three.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 10-Jan-16 21:44:50

So how do you get POA if the person is deemed to have mental capacity by the doctors etc but clearly hasn't to anyone that knows him? And refuses to sign anything over to anyone despite being utterly incapable of managing anything at all?

12purpleapples Sun 10-Jan-16 21:49:52

If they are incapable of 'managing anything at all' then it seems unlikely that a doctor would deem them to have capacity to sign a POA.

whataboutbob Mon 11-Jan-16 09:04:28

My Dad clearly had dementia when he finally signed his POA. I explained it to him in very simple terms, underplaying the loss of capacity aspect because he was in denial and would have found it offensive. His GP was happy to countersign as he knew me well and he knew that dad was becoming incapable of managing his affairs. As long as a responsible 3rd party (GP/ vicar/ solicitor) is willing to sign, and the donor as well, then it will most likely be ratified by the OPG.
I had to seriously sweet talk Dad but he signed. If he hadn't, we'd have been in an even bigger mess.
Do try and get him to sign and if the doctors do as well then it;s all good.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 11-Jan-16 09:52:33

Oh his GP knows what a state he's in. Unfortunately at his weekly assessment with his mental health team they ask him the same basic questions and he tells them what he thinks they want to hear. So they're satisfied that he's got capacity.

Yet you ask him to make a shopping list, or ring his car insurance through, or operate his cooker, you get the blank stare and the absolute refusal to even try and cooperate. If we weren't there managing his affairs he would be stuck. So we want POA to be able to just get on with things for him.

whataboutbob Mon 11-Jan-16 12:06:50

Absolutely and as long as the prfoessionals are happy to sign I say go for it.My Dad was in a similar state when he signed.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 11-Jan-16 21:11:54

Thanks for your advice, you've been very helpful. It's such a mine field isn't it?

annandale Mon 11-Jan-16 21:20:06

I don't know the process of PoA but just to say a bit more about mental capacity which you may well know anyway -
-a person is always supposed to have capacity unless proved otherwise
-capacity is decision-specific - so for example a person might not have the capacity to make a decision about whether to go on living at home, but might have the capacity to decide not to have a kind of medical treatment.
-capacity may be lost and regained, e.g. if I lost consciousness tonight I would lose capacity for all decisions but might well regain it
-to have capacity for a decision a person must be able to retain, understand and use information to make a decision, and to communicate their decision. This point requires a proper formal assessment.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 11-Jan-16 22:03:06

I think he'd struggle with that last point.

Sorry to hijack your thread Rabbit, I hope some of the extra info has been helpful to you.

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