Helping Mum Power of Attorney or Alternatives Question

Hi I hope someone can help me. My father passed away last year, leaving my mother to manage her finances. My mother primarily used an account book and is hesitant about online banking and digital payments. While mentally competent, she's uncomfortable handling bills, insurance, and account management. So the responsibility has fallen to me. I am her financial power of attorney. My question is, should I enact the power of attorney if I am dealing with these issues for her despite her being competent? If not, what other options do I have? I live an hour away, and sometimes I cannot be with her while I work through a financial issue.

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  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,265
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    An easy option for a lot of situations is to have a letter of authority from her.  Basically saying "I, BM's mom, consent to BM having access to information about my account and to discuss any details about it with you."  Signed, BM name, address, date.

    This will allow you to talk to the utilities, insurance etc without having to have her on the line with you.  Obviously you'll need to email this to whomever so they can log it so there may be a bit of a delay.  

    This may work ok for short terms to talk to a bank though many of them want you to fill in their specific form rather than to DIY it.  Some banks will insist on something new every 3 months so you may decide to simply provide the POA.  They will need the original normally, not a copy unless it is certified (think the post office can do 3 copies for £12?).  And easy (ish) thing to do is to walk into the branch with it and get them to copy and certify and put it directly on to your mom's account files. 

    Also - for MiL who had 3 accounts with 2 different banks. ....  OH went joint on 2 accounts at one bank so that solved any issues with them. I had 3rd party authority on the account at a different bank which meant I could do almost anything with the account other than shut it down.  So I could set up new payees, was issued with a debit card so I could get ££ out of the ATM etc.  Obviously in either situation the banks will want to ensure that your mom agrees to all of this so it's likely to be an in person meeting for either and means booking an appointment.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • pollypenny
    pollypenny Posts: 29,389
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    My father made me a signatory on his main current account so that I could manage care home fees. 
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,262
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    edited 3 February at 5:46PM
    It depends on whether the power of attorney was set up to only come to play when your mum loses capacity, or whether with her consent you can manage her affairs while she is still competent.
    You will need to check the document for it to find out.
    if it’s set up to use while she has capacity, then it is fine to do so, but all actions need to be with her consent.

    If it’s only set up for when she loses capacity, then she could do a general power-of-attorney as well. You don’t need a solicitor, you can probably find the wording online, – there isn’t a specific form, but you do have to use specific wording.

    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.
  • lr1277
    lr1277 Posts: 1,616
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    Whilst I have POA for my widowed mother I use a technical solution to help her pay some of her bills.
    She has a computer and has used it for many years, mainly for surfing the internet. She can log into banks and check balances/payments in and out but paying bills is beyond her confidence level.
    I too can't always be there when she wants to do something on the computer.
    Anyways I installed VNC Server on her machine and VNC client on my machine (but can also be installed on an iPad and iPhone). Don't know if it can be installed on Android devices. Whilst I have the VNC app on my phone and tablet I have never tried to log into mum's computer from either of them.
    So mum calls me, I log into her computer, she then gives me the passwords to log into whatever and I pay the bill or move the money or whatever. She calls me from her landline incase an OTP needs to be sent to her mobile.
    This works for us.
    There is also Microsoft Teamviewer but I have no experience of that software, but I am led to believe it does something similar, and might be more secure than VNC.

    To answer your question my understanding was with a finance POA, you can take action on the donor's behalf with their approval and knowledge of your actions. I did not realise it depended on the type of POA. My parents got their POA in 2019 I think and that allowed attorneys to take action with the donors knowledge and consent.
    Should you have a health and welfare POA you can ONLY make decisions on a donor's behalf when they have lost capacity. When my dad was admitted to hospital, mum and I were asked if we had POA to which we said yes. But we were never asked about any health decisions whilst dad was in hospital.
    HTH
  • mexican_dave
    mexican_dave Posts: 249
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    I think we all need to be clear what sort of Power of Attorney you have. The system was modernised a decade or more back, look at the heading on the paperwork it should tell you.
  • BathMoney
    BathMoney Posts: 26
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    Thanks everyone
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,262
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    edited 7 February at 5:51PM
    lr1277 said:
    Whilst I have POA for my widowed mother I use a technical solution to help her pay some of her bills.
    She has a computer and has used it for many years, mainly for surfing the internet. She can log into banks and check balances/payments in and out but paying bills is beyond her confidence level.
    I too can't always be there when she wants to do something on the computer.
    Anyways I installed VNC Server on her machine and VNC client on my machine (but can also be installed on an iPad and iPhone). Don't know if it can be installed on Android devices. Whilst I have the VNC app on my phone and tablet I have never tried to log into mum's computer from either of them.
    So mum calls me, I log into her computer, she then gives me the passwords to log into whatever and I pay the bill or move the money or whatever. She calls me from her landline incase an OTP needs to be sent to her mobile.
    This works for us.
    There is also Microsoft Teamviewer but I have no experience of that software, but I am led to believe it does something similar, and might be more secure than VNC.

    To answer your question my understanding was with a finance POA, you can take action on the donor's behalf with their approval and knowledge of your actions. I did not realise it depended on the type of POA. My parents got their POA in 2019 I think and that allowed attorneys to take action with the donors knowledge and consent.
    Should you have a health and welfare POA you can ONLY make decisions on a donor's behalf when they have lost capacity. When my dad was admitted to hospital, mum and I were asked if we had POA to which we said yes. But we were never asked about any health decisions whilst dad was in hospital.
    HTH
    That would have been a decision they made when setting it up. The property and financial affairs LPA has always asked the donor to choose whether it can be used as soon as it’s registered or only when the person has lost mental capacity. 
    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.
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