I have POA for my mum, together with my brother (but he is in Germany so doesn’t actually do anything). So far it has been easy but mum has recently started to give cash to an old guy in a local care home for which she gets cheques in return. He does not trust the staff to do any banking for him so uses mum instead. Trouble is mum is registered blind and has no central vision as well as very poor memory and poor mobility. Basically he helps himself to her money and writes a cheque for what he says the amount is, but mum now runs out of money all the time and no one can account for what she is using it for (I do her shopping and pay all her services like transport, care, cleaners etc electronically and she has a contactless card for any small purchases at the shops - which she is barely able to get to anyway). So while I have no proof of theft I am very suspicious that this guy is siphoning off more money than he is repaying, and the situation of a blind vulnerable person walking around with large amounts of cash worries me a lot anyway. To prevent this I have started refusing to give her more than £20 in cash as she really has no reason to need more on her own account. She is now furious with me and thinks I am not doing my job as her POA, and she wants to appoint someone else who will do her bidding unquestioningly. This won’t be my brother as not only is he in Germany but he totally agrees with me about her not being safe with cash.
I really don’t think my mum could realistically find another POA as it would cost her a fortune to appoint a solicitor, and I doubt they would want to take on even a fraction of what I do for her in terms of finances and admin. But I am wondering whether there are other arrangements she might attempt to set up. What do people do who cannot manage their own money eg because of blindness, but who don’t have relatives on hand to do it, or who fight with their relatives or don’t trust them?
Part of me would dearly love to hand this all over to someone else though I have been advised not to do this. I’d be very interested to hear if anyone has had any similar experience and if so what you did about it. I should add that mum has very little money of her own but lives off benefits including pension credit guarantee, attendance allowance etc. She rents her house from me at a reduced rate (paid for by housing benefit) and is only able to live independently because she has me on call not far away. I’m now getting a bit sick of it all and wondering whether it is time to think about moving her to residential care where someone else can keep an eye on her and make sure she is not being taken advantage of. But I know this would cause a great deal of heartbreak and trauma for her and I am already feeling like a beast so not sure I can deal with it.
Thanks in advance for any perspectives anyone can offer!
Having read on here only today, about an very likely unscrupulous solicitor and POA, I think your Mum is best off with you managing her money. However, it is up to you whether you carry on doing this.
How does your Mum knowcthevold man on the care home?
If your Mum insists on helping him, the easiest solution to me seems to be that your Mum takes the chap’s cheques and directly cashes them at the bank.
You could contact the RNIB or SENSE for advice. I do know of people who are visually impaired who have regular support. Alternatively, you could see what support she could get through a Needs assessment.
Mum met this chap in hospital recovering from a fall. I think she was thrilled because he called her darling and gave her attention at a time she was desperately bored and lonely. The more I have seen of him since then the more I think he is a classic abuser, latching onto someone vulnerable, exploiting them and alienating them from their family.
Mum can’t easily get to the bank on her own but yes, she will have to try now if she wants this to continue as everyone else is wise to what is going on and refusing to do it for her. I worry that she will kill herself attempting this.
Thank you for the RNIB and SENSE suggestions. I will speak to them next week. A Needs Assessment would be good too. I know there is a long waiting list but perhaps we can get her on it.
If this old man is in a care home, then the solution is simple. The home give him cash and he gives them his cheque.
Mum gave you POA for the time when she couldn’t manage her finances herself, and really, that is the point she is at now.
Why does she need any cash other than the odd £5, at all?
If she used her card for all transactions and kept a receipt, there would be a clear audit trail for you.
I’ve had endless problems with my son’s money management, because repeated care agencies were absolutely useless. I honestly think that staff were “supporting” him to buy things that they took home. Long story. Now he has a Cashplus Gold card, he gets £10 pocket money and the new care provider gets £90 housekeeping for him. I pay everything else out of his “appointee” account. I used to manage accounts for a small hospital in outback Australia, so quite happy to show anyone how to do the account forms properly.
You need to set up a separate bank account into which all mum’s benefits and pension go, and then leave her existing account just for pocket money.
Thank you Bowlingbun, and sorry to hear about the struggles you have had to keep your son’s finances safe.
Mum doesn’t need cash except for a very small amount for things like putting in charity tins. In any shop she can use her contactless card but she is hardly able to shop on her own anyway and I do almost all her shopping. Everything else I pay for through electronic transfers and I have really good relationships with local providers - who are all very concerned about mum.
The trouble is that mum won’t accept how vulnerable she is and is furious with me keeping her short of cash. She cannot give me any reason she needs cash but we both know it is in order to buy the affection of the horrible old man. She won’t hear a word against him though and insists I should just ‘trust’ her and him - and give her access to her money. She does have capacity so in a way I can see that she does have the right to do what she wants with it. But she is also vulnerable owing to her lack of vision and very poor memory and I am not prepared to help her get financially exploited even if it is what she wants.
Unfortunately this is destroying our relationship and making me feel I need to walk away and hand things over to a more neutral third party. But I can’t imagine who would be able and willing to take this on.
I think my best hope is probably to call Soc Services and try to speak to the adult safeguarding person - perhaps they will be able to advise me…
I like the idea of a separate account, by the way - that might at least prevent her withdrawing a lot of money if she does actually manage to get to the Post Office herself (the only place in her village she can withdraw cash as she cannot see to use an ATM). I don’t think the PO should really be doing this as it involves mum handing a notebook with her PIN number written down in it to the counter person. They do it to be nice to her but I doubt this is actually legal and I should probably have a word with them about not giving mum cash. I will also call the bank and see what they suggest.
PS The old guy won’t use the care home to cash cheques or draw money for him as he claims he does not trust them (he more or less hates everybody and trusts nobody). In reality I think he just prefers to use mum as he can rip her off and also he seems to get pleasure from controlling her. He sends her out the shops to get him cakes and stuff all the time even though he gets all his food etc from the care home and poor mum can barely see, walk, find anything in a shop. I think it is just about power and control.