The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a framework to empower and protect people who may lack capacity to make some decisions for themselves. The Act also allows people to plan ahead to a time where they lack capacity and to specify who should make deci- sions for them in this instance.
No one knows what tomorrow may bring and preparing a Power of Attorney gives you comfort and control by appointing whoever you wish to look after your affairs. Where there is no Power of Attorney in place the Act states that no one, not even a spouse, can have access to the assets and accounts in the individual’s name. Not even a joint account!
The family of the individual will need to make an application to the Court of Protection for Deputyship, for a Deputy to be appointed to deal with the individual’s affairs. This can cause a lot of heartache and expense to the family as the process can be lengthy. In the meantime, all assets and accounts are frozen and cannot be accessed by anyone. The Court of Protection will also require a guarantee bond to protect against mismanagement of the individuals affairs. This is a hefty additional expense when the money could be put towards the individual’s needs.
The Deputy also has to account to the Court of Protection every year for their management of the individual’s affairs.
The Court of Protection will decide if the person applying to be Deputy is suitable. This means that you may not have a choice of who looks after your affairs, or have any control over them.
It is prudent that you arrange a Power of Attorney now so that you have the comfort of knowing that whatever is round the corner your wishes will be carried out by someone you know and trust.
For more information on arranging a Power of Attorney call Tania Jeffery on 01243 850860.