We had a really good response to our summer offer on Lasting Power of Attorney. I enjoyed meeting many lovely people and helping them to put these valuable documents in place.
However, there are still some very common misconceptions regarding these documents. One that I came across several times, was that if you have a joint bank account you are still be able to use it even if one of you lost mental capacity. This is not the case. The British Bankers Association will freeze joint bank or building society accounts. The use is restricted to protect the assets of the vulnerable person. A deputyship order would then need to be applied for through the court of protection. This is a costly and time consuming process.
Health & Welfare
People presume that if they lost mental capacity, a family member would be able to make decisions regarding their care.
The case of Betty Figg in 2009 highlighted that this is not the case. Mrs Figg, who suffered from dementia, was being cared for in a nursing home. Her daughter was concerned that she wasn’t receiving the care that she needed. Mrs Figg had fallen out of bed and was losing weight. Her daughter decided to convert a room in her home for her mother. She discharged her mother from the care home and took her home to live with her family. Sadly Social services did not agree with the daughter’s decision. Two days later, the old lady was snatched back by social services.
A distraught Mrs Figg was wheeled to a car with a blanket over her head. Police who had been called in as back-up threatened to smash the door with a battering ram if the family did not hand her over.
Eventually Mrs Figg was returned to live with her family. This was a distressing sequence of events, that could have been avoided had Mrs Figg created a health & welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
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