Questions of Cash: Power of Attorney task requires too many hours of calls and letters


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 (

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:

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before