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Is there a way a local authority can find out how much money you have in your bank accounts?

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skm1981
skm1981 Posts: 189 Forumite
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edited 4 December 2022 at 10:35AM in Disability money matters
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I have a question about my dad.  I'm almost certain he has dementia.  He's been saying bizarre things and acting in an odd manner for a good few months now.  He's had a CT scan and we're just waiting on the results. 

My dad lives in a council flat, the same council flat that he has lived in for maybe 60 or so years.  He's always paid the rent on time and never missed a payment, up until late summer this year.  I could tell something was off with my dad and the council ended up ringing me to get some info on my dad or to see if they can help because he'd not paid his rent for 2 months and the man from the council said he was worried for my dad's welfare as he seemed to be getting very confused on the phone.  They referred his case onto a homeless charity.  So I've been speaking to a really helpful lady there who is trying to help my dad, but she said if my dad doesn't pay his rent arrears within the next 4 weeks, the council will very likely begin action to evict him.  That 4 weeks is pretty much coming up now.

She's asked me if he has any savings because she said if he doesn't, then he will be entitled to some help.  She was asking me what is he living on right now moneywise because he's not claiming any benefits and he's now no longer working.  My dad says he doesn't have any savings, but for many reasons I won't go into, I feel certain my dad probably has substantial savings, definitely way over £16,000, but I don't know this for a fact.  So I'm wondering, is there a way for the council to find out if he has savings so that we can try and resolve this?  I'm also conscious that maybe one day soon, he's going to go back to his flat to find he can't get in because the council have taken possession.  I think my dad thinks if he just doesn't pay this, it will just magically go away and he won't have to pay rent anymore.  I'm thinking will the local authority take him to court to get the money they're owed, dementia or no dementia?  There's no point sending bailiffs round, he doesn't have possessions that would equate to what I'm guessing is now quite a few thousand in rent arrears.
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  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,217 Forumite
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    edited 4 December 2022 at 11:07AM
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    No there isn’t. No-one has the authority to access his bank account without a power of attorney or deputyship. Or some other legal mechanism such as investigations into fraud/money laundering etc. The banks would just say no unless someone shows they have the legal right to see the information.

    Is your dad someone who would accept help? Because I’m surprised, given the concerns,  that they haven’t referred him to social services for an assessment. The starting point though is that needs his consent. 

    Will he not talk to you about his financial situation? He’s not going to have his flat taken away without the correct processes which would involve them applying to the court for an eviction notice. Would he show anyone that if it came through? 

    They would treat the case differently if he had a confirmed diagnosis but even with a diagnosis the presumption is that someone has capacity unless evidenced otherwise. So at some point someone is going to need to do a capacity assessment around both his finances and his litigation capacity. Which in my experience has generally come down to a social worker when the level of concern has got to a certain point. Have you tried contacting them - They are very overstretched so it would probably be put on the back burner unless you’ve got evidence dad is neglecting him self. 
    But I do think you should look at that right rather than just the charity worker, potentially as a safeguarding if he’s at risk of homelessness due to dementia or any other mental illness. 

    I worked with a lady who to due to illness believed her rent was been paid by an unknown benefactor so she stopped paying. We managed to get a temporary hold on the court case on the grounds that she lacked  litigation capacity. The housing association stance though was that they needed a guarantee that the rent would be paid somehow by someone otherwise they would continue with the eviction process. In that case she ended up with an appointee who took over her benefits and got the rent paid. 
    How old is your father? Is he state pension age?

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Keep_pedalling
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    This really sounds like the route problem is a mental health issue rather than a financial one. Assuming you don’t already have power of attorney for him then ideally you should look into getting that done ASAP, but it may be too late for that.

    if he no longer has the mental capacity to manage his finances or to make a lasting power of attorney then someone would need to apply for deputyship. That is a long winded and expensive process but if you don’t do it the LA may be forced too if it turns out he needs residential care funded by them.

    Speak to his social worker if he has one, if not speak to the safeguarding team because there should be one.

    Do you know what income he is receiving?
  • skm1981
    skm1981 Posts: 189 Forumite
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    My dad is 73.  It's just really difficult with my dad.  He's always been extremely secretive with money and almost a bit obsessive with it as well.  He's been known in the past to call the automated bank number to find out his bank balance in the middle of the night before. One of the things he's said is that he has friends who live in council flats and they don't pay rent.  I've told him their circumstances are likely to be different from his, but it's just difficult with him because I don't know if he's telling me the truth when he says he's got no savings or if he genuinely doesn't.  He won't let me look into any of this.  I've asked him if me and my brother can have power of attorney so we can help him with financial matters, but he won't hear of it right now, but he is now recognizing that he is getting confused.

    I live 150 miles away as well which makes things more difficult.  Fortunately, my brother doesn't live so far from my dad and sees him regularly.  My brother asks him to bring all his post down with him when he comes to visit my brother most weekends, but he often forgets.  My brother has been to his flat to collect any post, but he couldn't find any.  It's just so hard to know what's going on.  It's also hard to keep track of any appointments because we have to rely on my dad telling us as soon as he opens the letter so we can make a note f it.  

    What we'd really like is to be able to get him moved locally to either me or my brother so that we can regularly check in on him.  This lady at the homeless charity has said she can help us with all of this once he gets a diagnosis.  He doesn't have a social worker as yet.  As I said above, my dad has only just really started to accept that he's having problems.  I'm thinking once/if he gets a diagnosis, he will let us help more.  
  • skm1981
    skm1981 Posts: 189 Forumite
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    The income he's receiving I'm pretty sure is just the standard pension, he never paid into a private one and he also gets some kind of disability allowance I believe, he's a type 2 diabetic and also has a pacemaker fitted.  I'm sure I remember him saying that he was receiving some kind of disability allowance.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,217 Forumite
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    edited 4 December 2022 at 11:28AM
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    It’s really difficult when people are becoming unwell but not recognising it and you can be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    Its not quite a simple as just saying you can get him moved once he has a diagnosis. if he has capacity and doesn’t want to move then that’s his decision regardless of the reason for his confusion.  Then you also have the issues of who is authorised to end his tenancy and sign a new one, depending on whether or not he is willing and able to do this for himself.  Otherwise, with the lack of an LPA it’s a best interests decision as to where he lives. 
    I really do think contacting social services for help should be on your/his radar if you haven’t already done so. And if he’s on the waiting list, keep them informed of any developments as that may increase his priority for allocation Including telling them about the eviction risk.

    ETA it’s important you understand that a formal diagnosis isn’t a magic wand for things to start happening although obviously it can help for professionals to become involved. Capacity is time and decision specific and even with a cognitive impairment there will be some decisions your dad can make for himself. Has to be looked at on a decision by decision basis.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202 Forumite
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    Hi OP

    Sorry to hear about that but as you will be aware you are not alone in stuff like this.

    The council and doctors can only do so much if consent is not given until things get desperate

    The charity dad referred to is a start.

    Possibly get dad to see the doc.

    If any organsations asks you questions - if you don't know the answer, please do not guess say you don't know

    Keep on repeating the fact of his perfect history of paying rent on time - was that via DD, what changed etc.

    Contact the safeguarding team at the coucil tell them re your concerns and risks you feel dad is under

    Sadly as stated before, at times things have to go very wful before the right people step into help

    Why not go and spend afew days with him and get him to see a doc/etc?

    How about applying for sheltered accommodation but I'm sure dad will decline but worth an ask

    Good luck



  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202 Forumite
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    skm1981 said:
    My dad is 73.  It's just really difficult with my dad.  He's always been extremely secretive with money and almost a bit obsessive with it as well.  He's been known in the past to call the automated bank number to find out his bank balance in the middle of the night before. One of the things he's said is that he has friends who live in council flats and they don't pay rent.  I've told him their circumstances are likely to be different from his, but it's just difficult with him because I don't know if he's telling me the truth when he says he's got no savings or if he genuinely doesn't.  He won't let me look into any of this.  I've asked him if me and my brother can have power of attorney so we can help him with financial matters, but he won't hear of it right now, but he is now recognizing that he is getting confused.

    I live 150 miles away as well which makes things more difficult.  Fortunately, my brother doesn't live so far from my dad and sees him regularly.  My brother asks him to bring all his post down with him when he comes to visit my brother most weekends, but he often forgets.  My brother has been to his flat to collect any post, but he couldn't find any.  It's just so hard to know what's going on.  It's also hard to keep track of any appointments because we have to rely on my dad telling us as soon as he opens the letter so we can make a note f it.  

    What we'd really like is to be able to get him moved locally to either me or my brother so that we can regularly check in on him.  This lady at the homeless charity has said she can help us with all of this once he gets a diagnosis.  He doesn't have a social worker as yet.  As I said above, my dad has only just really started to accept that he's having problems.  I'm thinking once/if he gets a diagnosis, he will let us help more.  
    Hi
    Sorry to read about that but you are not alone,
    Ask dad if he wants shelter place?
    Go and stay with him for a few days.
    It may just work

    I noted that parents especially dads like your dad often dont listen to family but will take advice at time from stagers aka so services staff etc

    Good luck
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,217 Forumite
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    How does your dad seem to be managing the rest of his money? Is he buying food and eating okay for example, and paying all his other bills?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Keep_pedalling
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    it sounds like it is not too late for him to make an LPA but the difficulty is going to be persuading him to do so. One thing that might work if for you and your brother to make your own LPAs along side his (assuming you don’t already have one) just the fact that you need one at a much younger age than him might make him think it is a good idea.

    My mum had little in the way of savings and lived in a rented council property but having a financial LPA in place was a godsend, my life would have been made so much harder without it.


  • skm1981
    skm1981 Posts: 189 Forumite
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    Thanks for all the replies.  I just gave him a call and had another chat with him about this.  Thankfully he was sounding his usual self.  I feel we're in a stage where he is more often himself than confused.  I mentioned about us sorting out power of attorney and he said he's happy with that.  So we are going to sort that this week.  He is desperate to move.  Every time I speak to him, he tells me how much he hates the flat he lives in which I think is one of the reasons he's not paying his rent. 

    When he was paying his rent, I'm not sure how he paid it.  He's old-school, doesn't do anything online, but I'm sure he used to go to the bank or post office and he'd make the payment.  I just remember, again one of his odd behaviours with his money, he would always pay it every 2 weeks rather than the full amount every 4 weeks because he didn't want them to have the full amount before it was actually due, or something like that.

    The thing with my dad is he is still in a relationship with my mum, but they don't live together, never have done because my mum can't live with him - my dad can be difficult in many ways.  He's very lazy, doesn't tidy up after himself, would happily stay in bed all day every day, blah, blah, blah.  My mum has her own health problems going on and she will not have him live with her.  He stays with her a couple of days a week at the moment and that's all she can handle, but his current behaviour with his confusion and he's also getting slightly nasty at times, it's making my mum's health problems worse.

    I really think if we can get him moved more local to probably my brother as my mum lives near to him, it would be a good step in getting on top of things.  My dad seemed quite agreeable to the power of attorney and moving, but still adamant he's not going to pay his rent.  I think it's a good suggestion to contact social services, so I think I will do that.  I feel like I'll need to speak to my dad about this though.  I don't know how open he is to getting help and I just feel so bad for him.  I think he's starting to acknowledge that he has a problem, he should know, he nursed my nan all the way through her Alzheimer's which was incredibly tough for him.  I just feel awful for him as well as anything else, I can't imagine what it must feel like to realise that you're literally losing your mind 
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