Ask The Legal Expert - Managing My Elderly Mother's Affairs
- AuthorSean Boucher
My mother’s memory is deteriorating swiftly, but she is fiercely independent and has never consented to my sister and I taking responsibility for her affairs. We fear we have left this too late, and we worry her finances will become a mess. What can we do?
It is sensible for people to get their affairs in order while they are still healthy, by way of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. However, it can be hard to broach the topic with some people, particularly if they are used to being independent.
If someone loses the ability to manage their affairs because of a loss of mental capacity, and if they have not made an LPA, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
This is an order granted by the Court of Protection, appointing someone to manage the affairs of someone who can no longer do so. You can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed deputy. The Court will consider whether your mother needs this, and whether you are suitable to be appointed.
A deputy must make sure decisions are made in the person’s best interests. There are two types of deputy – a property and financial affairs deputy and personal welfare deputy. Personal welfare deputies are usually only appointed in rare circumstances.
The court order will set out the extent of the deputy’s authority to act, and a deputy must act in good faith and not to take advantage of their position for their own benefit.
The Court has full discretion to decide which decisions a Deputy should be able to make, which might include managing day-to-day financial matters, handling investments, and selling property.
The Court will also determine which level of supervision the Deputy needs to take on. Usually, the Deputy will be expected to provide an annual report to the Court of Protection detailing the financial status of the person concerned.
As you can imagine, this situation can cause particular emotional distress for married couples or civil partners, who often assume that a spouse would automatically be able to deal with their partner’s financial affairs, or make decisions about their care. But this is not necessarily the case. It is important to seek professional legal advice on this complex issue, in good time.
JCP’s Lifetime Planning team is on hand for tailored legal support. For specialist legal advice, call Sean Boucher on: 01267 266944 or email: Sean.firstname.lastname@example.org
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. Welsh is spoken at JCP Solicitors’ Carmarthen office.
For further advice, please contact our specialist Lifetime Planning Solicitors in:
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