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My Mother is 96 and has had a M&S CC for many years, used for phone and online shopping which also gave her a feeling of independence as she rarely left the house. She began displaying signs of dementia late last year following a stroke, then fell at Christmas suffering a v serious head injury and was not expected to survive. She was eventually stabilised, though only after two scary doubt-filled relapses. It was then immediately clear that her dementia had deepened v substantially, and to make a long and very evil story short my Mother has in just a few weeks been replaced by someone who looks like her but has no memories, doesn't retain anything she is told conversationally for longer than 30-60 seconds, has no retained awareness therefore of her circumstances or where she is, who never has a yesterday to help her understand today, is confused on a good day and distressed on a bad one, doesn't recognise friends/some-family, and only occasionally recognises me when I tell her who I am. She is now in permanent residential dementia care where we continue to visit a very frail stranger unable to look after herself and needing help with all aspects of daily life, and that we love very much but can do nothing to help, only ... observe. Anyway ... I am dealing with her personal affairs. I would like to know please whether a card-issuer - M&S in this case - has legitimate recourse to family if the card-holder is neither competent nor capable and is unable to settle an outstanding balance, in this case just under £2K. Today the State takes all of Mum's pension and benefits to offset some of the £900+ p.w. cost of her Care, with the exception of a few pounds as so-called pocket-money to provide "personal treats" like toothpaste and replacement clothes/undies etc. Treats? There is no longer any possibility of the outstanding balance being settled by Mum from any source at all, she has no assets and had been getting by just okay on her State Pension+ small benefits whilst in a sheltered-housing bungalow since my Father died. I have been far too preoccupied to bother with the M&S reminder-letters over the past three months, but should take control before things escalate. I don't have any problem ignoring DCs if M&S moves it along, however I'd rather put the brakes on with M&S before that stage. So, to repeat my question ... I assume that in Law M&S would have recourse to income or assets, however there are none and I am wanting to know if In Law there is then permitted-recourse to family for the debt? If they try to make noise instead of writing the balance off, I am perfectly capable of berating M&S very robustly about pursuing a 96 year old woman in residential care with dementia! However, before then I want to be clear in my mind about the legitimacy of any other channels they may claim to be entitled to pursue for recovery. In reality they would actually be unsuccessful that way also as I am 71, retired with no assets and only state pension income, and with debts and obligations of my own already after a past business-collapse. I'm not concerned with that just now however, just in knowing whether M&S would be on solid ground if they should respond by saying that in these circumstances the debt becomes the responsibility of someone's family to settle if their assets/estate isn't able to cover it. So can someone advise on that one point please? Thanks! Howard
Hi, just after a bit of advice really, I received a claim form last week for a debt of £300 or so that has resulted from bank charges and interest on a Nationwide account, the account was in credit when a charge took it overdrawn, further charges and interest then grew the negative balance to around £300 until the account was closed/suspended in 2011. As the basis of the debt is from charges that may/may not be illegal? (probably for missing a direct debit) - would there be any point in contesting the claim? I know its not alot of money but I am trying to deal with my historic debts so any that I can avoid will allow me to do this sooner! Regards Gary