Questions of Cash: Power of Attorney task requires too many hours of calls and letters
Friday 26 April 2013
Q. I have the Lasting Power of Attorney for an elderly lady who has dementia. I have slowly managed to locate 20 financial institutions that she has, or had, dealings with.
This has taken me many hours of phone calls and letters. On one occasion, a bank lost the identity documents.
Other banks have taken a month to return the documents, leaving me without them for many weeks.
None of the banks has been willing even to acknowledge that the lady has an account with them until they have seen the Power of Attorney and my identity documents.
Is there any central register that I could use to help me locate the accounts? If there is such a register, would it be possible to register the Power of Attorney with the body that holds it and to save me many frustrating hours?
I have spoken to numerous people who all have the same problem and, with the number of people with dementia increasing, the problem will grow. TH, by email.
A. It would be impossible to hold a central register of all accounts held with all financial institutions across the UK because of the sheer number of the accounts and institutions. Nor would such a register necessarily assist you as it would probably still not include many accounts held offshore. If you do a credit check with the three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian and CallCredit – you may obtain some additional information pointing to accounts held by your friend. You could also try accessing the dormant account service, MyLostAccount (www.mylostaccount.org.uk).
The MyLostAccount website is operated jointly on behalf of National Savings & Investments, the Building Societies Association and the British Bankers' Association. A spokeswoman for the BSA says: "I would say MLA could absolutely help a person who has Power of Attorney and is managing an account for someone else. We would advise the person with PoA to check through any papers they have or can get hold of for a reference of a bank or building society and then use the service to trace any money which could have gone awry. As long as a person has PoA and the name of a banking organisation they should have success using the website."
However, without knowing with which financial institution an account was held, this service is less useful. "I suggest … the person [does] a general search on My Lost Account, filling in as much information as they can," continues the BSA spokeswoman. The My Lost Account service is easy to use and should not take more than 20 minutes to complete, but you need to have a complete list of past addresses to produce accurate results.
Q. In January this year I ordered a number of items from Mater dei Press, a small printing and personalised stationery business in Minster-in-Thanet, near Ramsgate in Kent. The total order was £7.90. I have previously ordered goods without any problem.
This order had not been fulfilled by early February, so I sent emails, wrote a letter and tried phoning many times, all without success; I then phoned the local library in the small town where the company is based; the librarian said she would contact the people running the business.
I have still not heard anything. I didn't stop the cheque as I assumed the goods would eventually be delivered. But in April the cheque was cashed, yet I have still not had the goods. PP, Hampshire.
A. The Yell directory provides a phone number and web address for Mater dei Press, while you gave us an email address. The email bounced. Phone calls went unanswered. The website did not work when we tried a few times. There is a legal obligation on a person or business to provide goods that have been paid for, but it seems unlikely that trading standards officials would pursue the issue in this instance given the small sum involved.
Q. I have been an American Express card member since the late 1980s, although the American Express records suggest that I have been a member only since 1999. About 20 years ago, I was intending to cancel my card because of the annual fee. I was then told in writing that I would not have to pay the annual fee and I would have a card free for life.
But in January 2013, I was asked to pay an annual fee of £36. I pointed out by email that I was not liable to pay such a fee. American Express asked me to produce the letter. I explained it was not in my possession any more, but they could see from their records that no payment was made each year on the renewal date.
They then said they sent me a letter last year in which they informed me of a change relating to my account. I have never received the letter. I was promised it would be re-sent, but nothing has arrived apart from the statement of account. When I tried to log into my account, I found they have cancelled my card and I could not access the account mailbox. BP, London.
A. American Express has no record of having offered you your Gold Card free for life and, as you say, you no longer have the letter confirming that offer. American Express is, though, now offering you an alternative card that does not have an annual fee. A spokeswoman explains: "Unfortunately, a written record does not exist that our card member was offered fee-free cards indefinitely.
We contacted her in February 2011 about the annual fee that was introduced to her card. As she did not pay this fee when it was due at the end of 2012, her account went into arrears and as per her terms and conditions, her card was cancelled." You have decided because of this experience not to accept the free card offer and have taken out a card with another issuer.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 2 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
Day In a Page
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park