Does Anyone Have Experience of Becoming A Deputy?

For information and discussion about benefits
Hi there,

I'm not sure if this is the best area to post about this in so please feel free to move it if there's somewhere more suitable.

My son turns sixteen in a couple of months time so I'm looking into the best way to manage his affairs on his behalf when that happens. I'm reading up on various things and have some questions and queries so I wondered if anyone here has done any of the things that I'm thinking about doing. I'd appreciate any feedback or pointers to other groups/organisations that might be able to help, as well as any clarification if I've misunderstood anything or am reading something the wrong way.

My son has the mental age of a six to seven year old so any decision beyond "do you want an ice cream" has the potential to be difficult for him to understand. We've had a visit from a very nice lady from the DWP who sorted out my becoming his appointee so that is in place (although we've not switched from DLA to PIP yet) but, as I understand it, I can only sign for him with regards to things like bank accounts/savings accounts until he's 16. After that he would usually be deemed to have capacity (which he hasn't) so I've been looking into becoming his Property and Affairs Deputy so that I can manage his financial affairs for him.

He doesn't have a huge amount of money to manage but I don't want to have his money mixed in with mine and would prefer him to have separate accounts. At the moment his DLA is paid into my account, then his direct debits go out of my account and I pay for his bits and pieces through the month and then transfer any money left into his savings account. He's also got a small pension set up which again I deal with at the moment but that would have to change when he turns 16.

It seems to me setting up as his Deputy is the only way to manage all of this without any problems. I'd also like to set up a second person in case something happens to me unexpectedly, so that they can take on managing his money straight away instead of having to wait for whatever legal process would have to happen after that.

The finance bit seems relatively straight forward (sorry, this is going to be long!). But it seems to get more complicated when looking at being a Personal Welfare Deputy.

I'm assuming that covers things like someone signing on his behalf? For example, they've just sent his National Insurance Number through and it has the wrong name on it. I've had to fill the form in to correct it and sign on his behalf (I don't know if they'll accept it like that). The government guidance talks about it not being necessary in most cases to formally become a Personal Welfare Deputy as everyone will be working in line with The Mental Capacity Act and working in my son's best interests. Personally I've yet to meet anyone working in my son's best interests and every single interaction is an enormous battle so I'm concerned about the assumption that everything will be rosy but at the same time I'm not sure if becoming his Personal Welfare Deputy would change that?

I'm also concerned because there's a long history of family abuse, mostly in the form of false allegations made about me which has caused all sorts of problems. It has been reasonably quiet in recent times but I worry about it starting up again once he becomes an adult and wonder if having my status, if you like, as a person who makes good decisions, approved by a court would mean I don't have to worry about other family members causing problems.

Sorry it's a bit long and rambly, I'm trying to get my head around it all at the moment so things are a bit jumbled. But if anyone has done either (or both) of these things then I'd be happy to hear how you found the process and whether you think it best to do one or both.

Many thanks and hope all are well,

MumWhoCares
Hello MumWhoCares and welcome back to the forum (you've been missed :D )

I can't help you personally, although I did have Power of Attorney for my Mum which gave me the power to manage her financial affairs (I didn't have the Health & Welfare one as it wasn't around at the time) but I'm sure the Carers UK Adviceline should be able to give you some good advice.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org

Carers UK’s advice and information team based in London is undergoing staff changes. This means the Adviceline is closed Wednesday to Friday whilst we recruit and train new members of staff. We will be taking calls on Monday and Tuesday between 10am and 4pm. You can email or write to the Adviceline and we aim to respond to your enquiries within seven working days.
My son is 38, mental age of 3, I'm his DWP Appointee. Who says you can't be Appointee after he's 16?
susieq wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:29 pm
Hello MumWhoCares and welcome back to the forum (you've been missed :D )

I can't help you personally, although I did have Power of Attorney for my Mum which gave me the power to manage her financial affairs (I didn't have the Health & Welfare one as it wasn't around at the time) but I'm sure the Carers UK Adviceline should be able to give you some good advice.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org

Carers UK’s advice and information team based in London is undergoing staff changes. This means the Adviceline is closed Wednesday to Friday whilst we recruit and train new members of staff. We will be taking calls on Monday and Tuesday between 10am and 4pm. You can email or write to the Adviceline and we aim to respond to your enquiries within seven working days.
Hi Susie, and thank you, I don't really go online much anymore so haven't been on for ages :) Thank you for the recommendation of the helpline, I hadn't even thought of them! Lol, missed the obvious, I will email them over the weekend (have also emailed Mencap to see if they have info). Thanks again :)
bowlingbun wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:07 pm
My son is 38, mental age of 3, I'm his DWP Appointee. Who says you can't be Appointee after he's 16?
Hi BB, I can be his appointee from the age of 16 but I can't sign any documents on his behalf so I can't open a bank account for him or manage things like his pension and so on. We had a big who haa about trying to open a bank account a couple of years ago because he couldn't sign for himself or understand what he was signing so he could open one but not be able to move money out of it. Currently his direct debits go out of my account and I have to keep tabs on whose money is whose which is a pain. He has savings accounts that I can sign on his behalf for at the minute because he's under 16 but after his birthday I can no longer be a trustee for the account so would need a court order to be able to manage it on his behalf. We're also having problems with a social worker at the minute about releasing my son's records; because he doesn't have capacity this man that has spent less than ten minutes with him will decide whether or not it's in my son's best interests for me to be allowed copies of his records (in order to make a complaint about the SEN team so you can see why I'm not convinced anyone other than me will be acting in my son's best interests).
Sounds like someone hasn't explained it properly. As Appointee you should open a separate bank account in YOUR name, into which all his benefits are paid. Then you manage that account. It's NOT in his name.
bowlingbun wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:59 pm
Sounds like someone hasn't explained it properly. As Appointee you should open a separate bank account in YOUR name, into which all his benefits are paid. Then you manage that account. It's NOT in his name.
I don't want it in my name though, I want him to have his own accounts in his own name as I don't want to always have to be the one that manages it all for him.
Hi again everyone,

I thought I'd update this as I'm finding more and more things are coming up the more I read (which is always the way!) so I thought I'd start parking what I find out and my own thoughts about our situation just in case anyone has any similar experience or advice (and partly because things seem to make more sense to me when I write them down).

Anyway - although my son doesn't have a huge amount of money and at the moment his income is only from benefits, I still feel I would prefer him to have his own bank accounts in his own name, rather than his money going into an account in my name. This is partly because I just feel having your own bank account is part of being a grown up and I don't feel it's fair that he can have accounts in his name as a child, but not as an adult. It's also partly to do with earning the best rate of interest. Although neither of us has a large income or a huge amount in savings, I found that putting our various amounts of money into the best paying interest accounts does mean that we both earn between £100 and £150 a year in interest. I know it isn't a fortune but when you're on a low income every little bit helps but banks generally limit these accounts to one per person, which means any account I open now for him to use will mean he earns a lot less interest, which I feel is again unfair on him.

I'm also worried (as always!) about what happens to him if I die and his money is all in an account in my name. I need to look into this some more as I assume the account would be frozen until all my matters had been sorted but I don't know for sure. Equally I'm unsure what happens about things like his pension and his health insurance as he can't really make decisions regarding these things and I need to find out what to do about that.

The other side of it is the personal/health related stuff and I think this is probably what's bothering me more. I find constantly having to fight and battle every single person in every single agency to do every single thing exhausting and I don't want to do it anymore. I did wonder if becoming the Personal Welfare Deputy would mean they can't argue constantly about every single thing and keep refusing him things he's legally entitled to but I suspect not. I will have to look into this some more as well.

I can do things like sign his passport on his behalf so presumably that also applies to other every day things like bus passes, cinema cards and so on so that bit seems easy enough to sort out. There was a problem with his National Insurance Number which I was able to sort without any problems so some of it seems easy enough. Essentially I'd like to make life as easy as possible for both of us and not be constantly locked in battles with people (wouldn't we all! Lol).

Anyway, that's probably more of a to do list for me than anything else. If anyone has any thoughts or experience of any of those issues it would be great to hear them. I did receive some very useful info from Mencap about the Mental Capacity Act and various other things and have got the CarersUK Helpline to contact if any other bits come up. I will post more as I find more out :)
I've been reading some more and it's making me quite depressed, to be honest, it seems that basically only wealthy people with learning difficulties can have accounts in their own name or decide where any money they leave in a will can go. I'm feeling quite sick at the lack of provision; it can't be right that someone on a low income has to use a bank account in someone else's name because they have a learning disability. It seems he has fewer rights as a learning disabled adult than he did as a non disabled children which I find quite sickening.

I've also found out that I can only get a will made out in his name if he has substantial assets as the process is quite costly. So if his father - who hasn't been near him for fifteen years - outlives myself and my son he'll get any assets my son has and if his father is dead then it will go to the two half sisters he's never met and who possibly don't even know he exists.

I'm at a loss to know what to do; I have broken my back for years trying to make the best future I can for him and had been planning to work all the hours possible to put away as much as I can for him to make him as comfortable as possible once I'm gone. I've lived very frugally, and so has he in many ways. What I do manage to put by will help him, but won't be enough to warrant the sort of legal costs involved in sorting out a will and the idea of people who've never cared about him getting money I worked for really makes me angry.

It doesn't look like there's anything else I can do about this at the moment - unless anyone has any ideas?
Hi Mumwhocares
Has anyone mentioned 'trusts' to you? It's where his money and assets is held in trust and only given to him when the trustees agree. At the end of the trust (i.e. in his death) the money goes to where specified in the trust deed, i.e. to nominated persons or perhaps a charity.
However there are costs involved in setting up and running a trust. One of our friend brought a flat for her LD son and it is held in trust so he can live in for his life, but in his death it is sold and proceeds divided between his siblings. As he doesn't own the property it cannot be included in any financial assessment SS do.
You'd need to find a trust specialist to set up.And find multiple peopelto be trustees
Pm me if you want the name of the one my friends used

However I would caution about saving too much for him because if he is likely to be on benefits then SS would expect him to use his own money (down to a certain level) before they pay the benefits he would have if he didn't have savings.

I'd certainly contact the carers UK helpline first, then a trust solicitor which would cost.
Just think through if he would be capable of managing his own money. If he can't someone else needs to, and if not you, who?