Many people seem to believe if a close family member should lose capacity they will be able to access their accounts and run their personal affairs for them but they are wrong!
Currently, if you are not a signatory on your spouse/partner’s bank account and you do not have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney in place for property and financial affairs you will not be able to gain access to their sole accounts.
Furthermore, if it is deemed that the family member does not have sufficient capacity you will be unable to draft a Lasting Power of Attorney document resulting in having to apply for a Deputyship order appointing you as a Deputy. This is a costly and lengthy process which can take a minimum of six months to be finalised creating challenges for the family.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for Property and Financial Affairs and one for Health and Welfare matters.
The Property and Finances Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint attorneys to have access to your bank accounts, sell property, invest your money and deal with your day to day bills.
The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, covers decisions surrounding medical care, residential care and your daily wellbeing. For instance if a valid Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is not in place, your family may not be able to make decisions concerning which care home a family member will live in.
Whilst you are fit and healthy it is beneficial to draft these documents to prevent any problems in the future. When considering attorneys always pick someone who is trustworthy. You can appoint as many attorneys as you would like, however, try to think practically. Typically, donors pick 1 to 4 people to act as attorneys. Replacement attorneys can be appointed if certain people are unable to act if, for instance, there is lack of capacity, death or bankruptcy.
In most cases, the most popular attorney is a spouse/partner and their children. However, you can also appoint professionals to act as your attorney. Wilson Browne has a highly experienced Court of Protection team who manage a number of client’s financial affairs on a daily basis.
If you are interested in finding out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney please do not hesitate to get in contact with our Specialist Team on 0800 088 6004. You’ll be drawing on the experience and expertise of one of the most established teams on the area.