When a Will is simply not enough – heard about the Court of Protection?

No? Neither had Heather Bateman until in September 2003 when husband Michael walked across a country road in Norfolk and was hit by a car. ‘He fell to the ground and never stood up or spoke a word again’ – said Mrs Bateman.

The good news was the Bateman’s had written their Wills and both their names were on the deeds of the property they shared in London. The bad news was they had separate bank accounts and most of the bills were paid from Michael’s account as the main breadwinner. During the weeks and months that followed Heather desperately needed to access the account to pay household bills and children’s university fees. Advice from the bank was “get the right forms from a solicitor” – which also required her husband’s signature, not possible when he was in a coma. Heather needed help from the Court of Protection, what she got was three years of pain and misery.

The Court of Protection is set up to protect the vulnerable by making decisions for people who are unable to do so for themselves. It can appoint a deputy (a relative, a stranger or an organisation) to make decisions about a person’s property, financial affairs, health and personal welfare.  

Average time the Court takes to process an application for deputyship is 8-12 months. Costs average around £4,510 for the first year (application, medical assessment, representation at any court hearing, etc.) and could be up to around £2,000 in subsequent years (annual court supervision fee, preparing annual accounts, etc.).

Heather applied to become her husband’s Receiver – to act on his behalf in carrying out everyday financial matters. This involved filling out forms and keeping records detailing every decision made, including justifying the way their own money was being spent (including providing formal notice to their children). Failing to do so would mean losing the right to be the Receiver and the consequences “An unknown person could step in and take over our accounts and the running of our lives”.

Heather Bateman contemplates “The unwieldy organisation stepped into my life and took away my adult independence. We are advised to take out this and that insurance, but hardly anybody tells us to take out Power of Attorney – yet in a case like ours, this is the only way to avoid the Court of Protection”.

Most people when they know the facts agree that setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a common sense precaution, but few take action… Don’t be one of them!
So how do you make an LPA?
Option 1: You can download and fill in necessary forms for yourself, however if there are complications (incorrect details or mistakes detailing often complex financial arrangements) and your application is returned, you will lose your fee and have to pay again when submitting a new form.
Option 2: Direct.gov pages advice is “you may want to get legal advice”

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY? Ask us using the form below call Affinity FREE on 0800 0921 604 (opt. 1).