Advice on appointee & deputyship issue

henda1988

Active Member
Hi,
I am just looking for a little bit of advice for my step dad with a situation he is currently in right now.

So basically my dads father was diagnosed with dementia around 2013 and he went into a care home. His partner, who he isn't married to was selected as an appointee when it came to his pension etc but has never been appointed deputyship/power of attorney.

Over the past 30 years or so, his dads partner hasn't been the nicest person and when she first moved in with his dad she made him and his brother move out, didn't give them anytime to find a place, so they had to live in a hostel. That is just one of many issues she has caused.

Fast forward to earlier this year and my dads brother died of cancer and his children didn't have much in terms of money to give him a decent send off so my dad asked for some money from his dads partner as he knew his dad should realistically have around £40-£50k in his bank from his pensions. She basically refused, said it wasn't her problem and hung up the phone.

That was the tipping point for my dad who moved forward with the COP forms to gain deputyship of his dads affairs. Once the forms when in he got a letter of authority which allowed him to access his dads bank accounts to find his dad only had 25k sitting in the bank. So my dad got 7 years worth of bank statements, to which i went over thoroughly to find that his dads partner over the 6 years he'd been in a home that there had been £34000 in cash withdrawals alone, some weeks £1200 was getting withdrawn over the space of 4 days. Bearing in mind his dad was paying for his own care from his own pension which was coming out as a direct debit. for nearly the past 2 years he has been fully funded by the local council for his care but cash withdrawals average around £400-£600 had been happening up until august of this year when the bank put a freeze on the card. At one point, £5000 left the account and was returned into the account 6 months later. Also the care home told her that my step dad was going for deputyship(which I feel broke confidentiality) and the care home have been hostile to him ever since. She visits his dad once a week, my step dad works 6 days a week most weeks, from 6am until 21.30pm he is out of the house, he visits on a sunday if he can, and rings 2/3 times a week to see if his dad needs anything, but all he is meet with his hostility from the care home staff.

The priority for my dad is to be in charge of his dads affairs so that he gets information on how his dad is doing daily without being met with hostility or that they don't want to tell him. My dad is the only blood relative left that his dad has now.

This week she contested the deputyship that my dad put it for his dads affairs and it now has to go to a court hearing. In the COP forms my step dad has highlighted all of these withdrawals as part of the evidence why he doesn't think she is suitable and i put it clearly on a spreadsheet as well.

My dad asked the police for advice who said it isn't a police matter and that it is a civil matter, which is ridiculous if you ask me.

What i am wondering is, will the judge look at that 34k in withdrawals and want an explanation from her? Will the the judge possibly look at it as she isn't handling the dads affairs correctly and is basically abusing his money? She herself isn't in the best of health either after having a triple heart bypass & my step dad needs to know that his dad will be looked after and that when he passes he will be given the send off he deserves.
 

MrSossidge

Distinguished Member
Are the cash withdrawals from the dads sole account or is it an account in joint names with his partner?
If it's a joint account, then to me (a person with absolutely no legal training at all) the money is jointly hers and she is legally entitled to access it and spend it in any way she chooses.

I would imagine that the COP will be looking at all aspects and then deciding who is more able to become his deputy.

I'm assuming the dementia has progressed and he no longer has capacity to make financial and medical decisions.
 

henda1988

Active Member
Are the cash withdrawals from the dads sole account or is it an account in joint names with his partner?
If it's a joint account, then to me (a person with absolutely no legal training at all) the money is jointly hers and she is legally entitled to access it and spend it in any way she chooses.

I would imagine that the COP will be looking at all aspects and then deciding who is more able to become his deputy.

I'm assuming the dementia has progressed and he no longer has capacity to make financial and medical decisions.


Hi, the bank account is solely in his name, she simply has his card. Only recently has she started getting his state pension paid into her account, where as his other 2 or 3 pensions are still going into his account as the bank froze the bank card she was using to withdraw.

Personally, we believe she has contested it, not knowing that we know of the excessive amount of cash withdrawals over the past 6 or so years. So it will probably come as a shock to her when she enters the hearing, if she even turns up.

The cash withdrawals stopped for a couple of months which was around about the time she has triple heart bypass surgery, then after that they picked up again.

As part of the COP forms we had to have an independent doctor assess him and her final report was that he wasn't compos mentis. He is 91 years old now.
 

Jamjones

Active Member
If no one comes forward with sound legal advice then I recommend going the citizens advice bureau. When someone does not have capacity to make their own decisions, then as you are doing, an application needs to be made to the court to grant Power of Attorney in order to make all decisions on behalf of that person. Maybe call a best interest meeting with the care home to discuss the dynamics of the family and why it is in your SD's Dad's best interest to not have the partner informed of certain things. By talking to the care home, it puts your side across very clearly that you are worried about financial abuse. They have a duty to protect him and by using those words, they are bound to report or monitor the situation.

When making the application, or within the evidence you need to give, try to get evidence of any abuse you can find, be it emotional, financial or mental. It can be hard, but if there have been situations that can clearly outline this it will support your case to gain Power of Attorney.

On a separate note, have you been able to talk to her and ask her what she is going through? Dementia is a very hard thing to process and manage for everyone concerned and although she may not be the nicest of people, she will be struggling herself with how to deal with the horrid disease. Is there a chance she is using the money to finance living costs and travelling costs to see him and things he needs?
 

henda1988

Active Member
If no one comes forward with sound legal advice then I recommend going the citizens advice bureau. When someone does not have capacity to make their own decisions, then as you are doing, an application needs to be made to the court to grant Power of Attorney in order to make all decisions on behalf of that person. Maybe call a best interest meeting with the care home to discuss the dynamics of the family and why it is in your SD's Dad's best interest to not have the partner informed of certain things. By talking to the care home, it puts your side across very clearly that you are worried about financial abuse. They have a duty to protect him and by using those words, they are bound to report or monitor the situation.

When making the application, or within the evidence you need to give, try to get evidence of any abuse you can find, be it emotional, financial or mental. It can be hard, but if there have been situations that can clearly outline this it will support your case to gain Power of Attorney.

On a separate note, have you been able to talk to her and ask her what she is going through? Dementia is a very hard thing to process and manage for everyone concerned and although she may not be the nicest of people, she will be struggling herself with how to deal with the horrid disease. Is there a chance she is using the money to finance living costs and travelling costs to see him and things he needs?

Hi,
She isn't very open to speaking with my step dad. From the outset she did her best to trying pit his dad against him in order to distance his dad from him in the times before he got dementia.

As for living costs, the house is mortgage free and has been for sometime. For a short period she was using his money to pay gas, electricity, council tax etc when she is the only one living there and should be paying those costs herself.

As for travelling costs, she lives around 15 minutes away from the care home and her son usually takes her.

If her defence is that she has been using the money to buy him things he needs or giving money to the home for things he needs then either her or the home need to have kept a record of this. But if you average the 34k over 7 years it is around £4836 in cash withdrawals alone. the cost of his care was still coming out as a direct debit until 1 and half years ago.

Someone in a care home doesn't need £4800 spent on them yearly on new clothes. Most of his other stuff is provided by the home. We feel shes been abusing his finances for her own gain.
 

Jamjones

Active Member
Hi,
She isn't very open to speaking with my step dad. From the outset she did her best to trying pit his dad against him in order to distance his dad from him in the times before he got dementia.

As for living costs, the house is mortgage free and has been for sometime. For a short period she was using his money to pay gas, electricity, council tax etc when she is the only one living there and should be paying those costs herself.

As for travelling costs, she lives around 15 minutes away from the care home and her son usually takes her.

If her defence is that she has been using the money to buy him things he needs or giving money to the home for things he needs then either her or the home need to have kept a record of this. But if you average the 34k over 7 years it is around £4836 in cash withdrawals alone. the cost of his care was still coming out as a direct debit until 1 and half years ago.

Someone in a care home doesn't need £4800 spent on them yearly on new clothes. Most of his other stuff is provided by the home. We feel shes been abusing his finances for her own gain.
I have no legal background but I do have care background and the care home should be keeping an inventory of his items and purchases. It does sound like financial abuse and what you have done so far is really good, and she has been sneaky by withdrawing the cash.

I like to cover all the basis so forgive me, but sometimes there can be the need to 'top up' pay to care agencies, or care homes. The cash sounds really dodgy though and any self respecting care agency does everything through the books. I would be interested to hear what he defense is and why she isn't using her own income. How is she having his pension already? Is that even legal?

I really hope you get the court application pushed through, and talk to the manager of the care home and see if they can help shed light on the situation. Unfortunately some 'carers' can make assumptions of family situations before understanding the whole situation and she may even be using 'cash gifts' to persuade them to support her... I am myself making assumptions but it has been known to happen
 

henda1988

Active Member
I have no legal background but I do have care background and the care home should be keeping an inventory of his items and purchases. It does sound like financial abuse and what you have done so far is really good, and she has been sneaky by withdrawing the cash.

I like to cover all the basis so forgive me, but sometimes there can be the need to 'top up' pay to care agencies, or care homes. The cash sounds really dodgy though and any self respecting care agency does everything through the books. I would be interested to hear what he defense is and why she isn't using her own income. How is she having his pension already? Is that even legal?

I really hope you get the court application pushed through, and talk to the manager of the care home and see if they can help shed light on the situation. Unfortunately some 'carers' can make assumptions of family situations before understanding the whole situation and she may even be using 'cash gifts' to persuade them to support her... I am myself making assumptions but it has been known to happen
She's an appointee on his state pension only I believe. Which she's now getting paid into her account since we got her access cut to his dad's account.

Her as appointee on the pension only means she can access the money and use it for things he may need like clothes and hygiene products.

I really think her and her son have been dipping into it regularly, there was a cash withdrawal in total of £1200 over 4 days a one point, £11000 in cash withdrawals in the year of 2014.

We will get the bottom of it. We are hoping the judge has called for the hearing so he can confront her with the bank statements
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
There's a lot to digest here but a few thoughts:

As stated above, the care home should have full financial records for the period in question. They are in a difficult position now with two people vying to act as next of kin. It will be important to establish in the court hearing who should be treated as next of kin & who has the final say in the event of a dispute.

As you've already highlighted, the cash taken over the period is not a huge sum when averaged annually. I would expect the court to ask for an explanation of this spending but they won't be "confronting" anyone. If she was co-habiting then it's not unreasonable to argue that the Donor would have wanted her looked after. It's also permissable for a Deputy to make gifts from the Donor's finances that are proportionate with what has gone before. So if the Donor bought expensive gifts from time to time it could be argues that it's reasonable for that to continue.

You also haven't said anything about what her earning status is. Was she working at the time the Donor went into care or was he supporting her? If the latter then again it's likely to be viewed as reasonable that this continue.

Finally you need to unerstand that the Court should be solely focussed on what's best for the Donor. They may well decide that is the person who has been performing the duty unchallenged for six years. They could also decide that as there is dispute, an independent Deputy should be appointed. If your Dads application is successful he will be required to keep records & submit annual accounts.
 

henda1988

Active Member
There's a lot to digest here but a few thoughts:

As stated above, the care home should have full financial records for the period in question. They are in a difficult position now with two people vying to act as next of kin. It will be important to establish in the court hearing who should be treated as next of kin & who has the final say in the event of a dispute.

As you've already highlighted, the cash taken over the period is not a huge sum when averaged annually. I would expect the court to ask for an explanation of this spending but they won't be "confronting" anyone. If she was co-habiting then it's not unreasonable to argue that the Donor would have wanted her looked after. It's also permissable for a Deputy to make gifts from the Donor's finances that are proportionate with what has gone before. So if the Donor bought expensive gifts from time to time it could be argues that it's reasonable for that to continue.

You also haven't said anything about what her earning status is. Was she working at the time the Donor went into care or was he supporting her? If the latter then again it's likely to be viewed as reasonable that this continue.

Finally you need to unerstand that the Court should be solely focussed on what's best for the Donor. They may well decide that is the person who has been performing the duty unchallenged for six years. They could also decide that as there is dispute, an independent Deputy should be appointed. If your Dads application is successful he will be required to keep records & submit annual accounts.
Thanks for info.

Got an update today. So original a letter of objection had went in with no name on and no address. For some reason the court assumed it was my mother objecting my step dad, her husband because of the surname in the objection letter.

Apparently the judge doesn't entertain letters of objection and will only entertain the objection if it is on the correct forms.

So it has now gone back to the judge and we await the next step.
 

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