How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Type Your Law Question Here...
James Mather is online now

My mother-in-law has put my name on her bank accounts so that

This answer was rated:

My mother-in-law has put my name on her bank accounts so that I can do her shopping and pay her bills as she is housebound. She is 95 years old and may need to get some care assistance or go into a home in the near future. She doesn't like the idea of being means tested but this may become necessary. How does this affect the bank accounts as they are in joint names?

Can you please explain your concerns?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Can I transfer money that she wants to give to her great grandchildren out of her account so it will not fall into the means testing?

Is she in the habit of making these gifts?

Do you mean escape care fees?

How much are you looking at giving away?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

She has given money to her grandchildren and myself in the last year and wants to share £15000 between her five great grandchildren

How much does she have in cash/savings?

I need to know exactly why she is doing this. To escape what?

Means testing for what?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

As it looks like she is in need of some care ,if she goes through social services they will means test her to see if she can get help with the cost- she has £16000 in her current a/c and 13000 in her savings a/c- she also owns her flat wich is probably worth about £100000/120000 I am not sure if they take this into account when means testing. If she passed away could I still operate her bank a/c as it is in joint names?

Thank you. The money in the
bank account belongs to your mother and not to you, even though it is in joint
names. Your name on the mandate simply gives you the authority to use it. What
is your mother is no longer capable she is no longer capable of giving you the
continuing authority to use it, and you should stop using it. Although many
people do carry on because it is quicker and cheaper than applying for a
lasting power of attorney. If you apply for a lasting power of attorney now,
while your mother is mentally able, it will cost about £500 for a solicitors do
it. There is no legal reason why you cannot do it yourself, the paperwork is
full of traps for the unwary. If your mother gets dimentia and is no longer
mentally capable of looking after her own affairs, then you need to apply to
the Court of protection to become a deputy and that is going to cost you £2000.
The delay is costly.

As I said earlier, the money
in the bank account belongs to your mother and forms part of her estate and
therefore your authority to use it also ceases on her death. About the only
thing you can pay from that account after her death would be the funeral account.

I am giving you of course, the
absolute letter of the law here.

As your mother, by giving away
this £15,000, would be depriving herself of over 50% of her liquid assets/cash
then if it is needed for care, the local authority may want the money back.

The local authority were
currently take all the value in the estate. Apart from the last £23,000, which
is why many houses have to be sold to pay for care.

In short, your mother can give
the money away and it would lift the local authority to decide whether she had
deprived self of assets to avoid paying care fees. They would of course sell
the house and spend all the proceeds but that obviously takes time. It would be
for the Council to decide whether they wanted their cash now, or whether they
wanted to wait until the house was sold.

Can I help further?

Please bear with me today because I will be online and

Please don't forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not
what you wanted to hear) and I will follow up any further points you raise for

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating. It
doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is my

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask me for further info before rating me negatively otherwise I don't
get paid at all for my time and answer.

The thread remains open.

Thank you.

James Mather and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

In my mother-in-law's will my son and daughter and myself are the executors would I still need a power of attorney to deal with her estate?

Thank you. You only need power of attorney or deputy ship
to deal with your mother's affairs while she is alive. After that, they are
dealt with by the executors who, if disposing of a house or substantial assets,
will need grant of probate