“I’m sorry, we can only discuss the account with the account holder”
“But I’m her daughter, my mum has dementia and can not call you herself”
“I’m sorry madam, but for security purposes, we are only able to speak with the account holder, or a person with legal authority to act on her behalf”
A frustrating and yet very common conversation.
Some people have Powers of Attorney already prepared which will adequately deal with this situation as the Attorney appointed in the Power of Attorney will have a legal authority to act on behalf of the account holder. But what if there isn’t a Power of Attorney in place? Powers of Attorney can only be entered into while a person has the mental capacity to do so. So if a person doesn’t have a Power of Attorney and is no longer capable of making one, family and friends of the person who lacks capacity may find themselves in a difficult and stressful situation. It is sometimes not a lack of planning that places people in this position, but rather the unexpected arising such as a stroke, a car accident or even fast progressing dementia.
The Court of Protection is there to safeguard the most vulnerable people in society. An application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a financial “Deputy” to manage a person’s property and financial affairs can be made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs. This is called a “Deputyship application” This would enable the applicant (usually a family member, close friend or in some cases a professional) to look after the vulnerable persons assets, income, to pay their bills, to look after their savings and make financial decisions that are in the best interests of the vulnerable person. The power can even extend to an ability to buy and sell property.
Once a Deputyship Order is issued by the Court, the appointed Deputy will then have a legal authority to manage the vulnerable person’s property and financial affairs. Third parties such as banks, pension providers and utility companies will then be able to communicate with the Deputy as if they were the vulnerable person themselves. This is a very useful and powerful tool for the Deputy at a time that can often be emotional and distressing.
The application process can seem daunting. Our specialist Court of Protection team offer all round advice and assistance both with the application itself and with other matters such as care funding that tend to arise at these difficult times. For more information, contact Lisa Franklin on 0116 247 2004.