FRUSTRATED: John Russell is trying to care for his step mum’s finances, as she suffers from dementia, but is tired of his bank not helping him have administrative rights, after his dad passed away.
FRUSTRATED: John Russell is trying to care for his step mum’s finances, as she suffers from dementia, but is tired of his bank not helping him have administrative rights, after his dad passed away. Al Reinikka Rokarussell

Bank blocking family’s care bid for mum with dementia

JOHN Russell's father passed away last month, but he didn't expect his tragic loss to cost him his semi-retirement.

John's been forced to consider full-time work to foot the bill for his father's funeral and to pay for his step mum's care in an aged home. It's not that he minds helping his family, but what's proving frustrating is the difficulty different organisations have put him through in regards to his father's death.

John told The Morning Bulletin the joint bank account his father and step mum had was frozen last week. John's at a loss over the issue, as his dad had organised a direct debit payment from the account at The Rock Building Society, for his step mum's care.

"My step mum has dementia; but prior to my dad's passing she gave him power of attorney," John explained. "The bank told me they could continue the payments my dad set up for my step mum, but I can't do anything else with the account because I don't have authority."

John, with approval from his siblings, has been battling to get administrative rights to his parents' account since his father died in December.

But things took a turn for the worse last week, when the aged care home of his step mum called to tell John that his step mum's payments had stopped.

"The bank won't honour the direct debit and I was told because it was their 'duty of care'," John said.

With John unable to access his parents' account to pay for the funeral or for his step mum's care, it has come straight out of his family's pocket.

"The bank said that now mum has dementia she can't have access; but dad advised them of her condition over a year ago," John said.

John explained that he's been given a range of different forms from the bank, and can't seem to get a straight answer.

"I'm happy to jump through hoops to get to be the administrator, but the bank keeps changing the rules," he said.

John has even gone to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, but hasn't gotten anywhere.

"Everyone's been saying to me, 'I'm really sorry, but we can't help'," John said.

"The payment for the nursing home has come out of our pocket, for the funeral and the wake. At the minute I'm living on savings, and I'm going to have to go back to work," he said.

The Rock Building Society could not comment due to privacy reasons and the Bulletin was unsuccessful in attempts to contact QCAT.



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