Parents bank and bills

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Just been told mum has 3/4 weeks to live and I need to to take over the finances as my dad has dementia and I don’t know where to start someone please help…

  • Hi   ,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s diagnosis. Hopefully we can provide some support at this difficult time.

    There may be a few options which could allow you to take control of the finances such as Power of Attorney (POA), third party bank mandates or changing bank accounts into joint names. But some of the options might have a lengthy process and the rules can be slightly different for someone living in Scotland, Northern Ireland or England and Wales. It might be best to talk to us about your specific circumstances over the phone. This allows us to find out more about your situation and tailor our guidance so we can support you in what you need to do about your mum’s finances.

    Our freephone number is 0808 808 0000. The financial guides are available Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm although our lines remain open until 8pm for other services. You can also webchat us here if you prefer.

    In the meantime, I’ve detailed some information below which are options people might consider when looking to manage someone’s finances.

    As an overview, Lasting Power of Attorney for financial affairs would allow you to manage all the financial affairs including buying and selling property and investments, running bank and savings accounts, and managing tax affairs as if they were your own. You can put this in place with a solicitor, or you may be able to fill out the forms yourself, but they will need to be registered with an Office of Public Guardian. Unfortunately, there’s a long waiting time for this process.

    A slight alternative is an Ordinary Power of Attorney. This is a temporary arrangement which would allow you to manage the financial affairs for a set period. An Ordinary POA doesn’t have to be registered with any official authority, so it’s quicker to put in place, but it does have to be written in a certain way. The wording for Ordinary POA might be available from some stationary outlets or alternatively someone can use a solicitor. It stops when the donor cancels it or loses mental capacity.

    Third party bank mandates are where the account holder arranges with their bank to accept instructions made on their behalf by someone else. The account remains in the account holder’s name, but a third party will be able to make withdrawals, write cheques and carry out other transactions in their name. Not all banks allow third party mandates so check with the bank concerned first.

    Another alternative for accessing someone else’s account is to make it a ‘joint account’. A joint account is one which is held in joint names with someone else. A joint account can be arranged by adding a second person to an existing single account, or by opening a new joint account. The owners of the account would then become the joint owners of the money in the account and would be able to write cheques, set up standing orders and direct debits, make payments and access funds. If either person died, the surviving account holder would then usually inherit the whole account.

    I hope this information provides you with a starting point to start getting some support, hopefully we can chat soon.


    Kind regards,





    Financial Guide




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