Tuesday, 21 March 2006

letter to Mum's Solicitor

Dear S

Thanks for replying to what I'm sure was a rather tedious and incoherent list of problems that I'm experiencing with my Mum. It helps just to know that you understand and are taking it seriously.

Only this morning, I had Mum on the phone anxious that she didn't have enough in her account to pay her service charge bill. She had just spoken to her Bank Manager to get her balance, and it turned out that she believed the £1000 bill was greater than her £3400 balance - her maths is that poor - and this despite the fact that we had discussed this same bill last week and gone to some lengths to ensure that her balance was sufficient to pay it.

In your reply, you recommend that we set up the Power of Attorney and that I take control of Mum's financial affairs. I'm grateful that you offer to explain to Mother how this would help her, as she is liable to be a bit prickly at times and easily jumps to the conclusion that it's part of a process to send her off to a home! However, I believe she is more receptive to the idea now than she was a year ago, and I have been heartened by her reliance on me in the last few months.

I am, however, a little nervous myself about this step and would appreciate it if you could perhaps help outline for me a scenario of how I could manage my Mum's affairs from a distance. Perhaps if I describe how I imagine it would work, you could correct me or suggest ideas I have not considered?

Firstly, I believe my Mother is still capable of, and enjoys, managing her own affairs to the extent of shopping for herself, arranging her hair and chiropody appointments and grooming for her dog. I would like her to continue dealing with these items as she does now, out of a 'Daily' account, but I would like to be able to go online to see what's been going on in this account and question her about any anomalous cheques or repeated payments. Much as I'd LOVE to take away Mum's chequebook, I don't want her to keep having to walk to the bank to get cash. For now, I hope that oversight of her account by internet will help me spot any problem cheques as soon as possible. Another advantage of my having internet oversight would be that I could provide Mum with her balance at any time - she tends to ring her bank manager a couple of times a week for this.

Secondly, as I think you suggested once, I think that I'd like to have Mum's 'Daily' account be paid out of a 'Managing' account that I would look after on her behalf - this would pay Mum's more regular running expenses (council tax, service charge, direct debits) before paying her the remainder as an allowance. This would mean that she doesn't have to worry about these charges, and would allow me to budget for semi-annual and annual charges, rather than drawing on her savings to pay for them, as has been Mum's practice. I have already arranged with the managing company of her apartments that they send their bills and statements to me rather than to confuse Mum - I would hope that it's simply a matter of asking the same of the council, the electricity board and so on as well.

I apologise if that was a bit specific. I was trying to work through my ideas on the page. Please could you let me know if the above is possible, recommended, or indeed if you have a better or simpler solution. Please also let me know if I need to come to see you at any part of the process. I expect I shall need to meet Mum's bank manager again in any case.

I look forward to your response on this issue. I don't wish to proceed until I understand how the thing works myself.

Thank you again

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