According to recent research, 25% of over 45 years olds have access to a bank account for a relative who is not their spouse/partner.
That is a really risky approach as there is no accountability and it can lead to so much trouble on both sides. Suspicions are easily raised when ‘odd’ withdrawals appear on statements and it may be that innocent payments can’t be easily justified months or years down the line.
If you are asked to look after someone’s finances, it’s best to do it properly.
Get a proper, registered Lasting Power of Attorney in place, lodge it formally with the bank and keep records of absolutely everything you do with that account so it is clearly for the benefit of the account holder/relative and not for you.
If they tell you to take something for yourself, get a witness to it. Share what you are doing with other family members or see a lawyer who can go to see them to record what they want and why.
It is not just the person whose money it is who is at risk. You are also in the firing line if you don’t keep proper records.
Powers of Attorney can also cover personal welfare decisions in the event that the person becomes unable to make the decisions themselves.
Be careful! Powers of Attorney do not stop someone taking advantage of you or your finances, so why not give them to more than one person?