Frequently asked questions
Who can look after finances?
A family member can apply to the Court of Protection to become a Receiver. The Receiver will then be responsible for all financial affairs, property and payment of any debts of the person who lacks mental capacity (the Patient). The Receiver is accountable to the Court. The Receiver will have to do annual accounts to tell the Court what has been spent on behalf of the Patient each year.
Can a person ever start to look after their own finances again if they get better?
Being a Receiver for someone can be temporary in some circumstances. However, when old age and infirmity or permanent mental incapacity through accident occurs it could be a long standing role. If the Patient's condition improves the Court would have to decide whether they could look after their own finances.
How would I know whether an application to Court of Protection is the right thing to do?
It may be obvious that a person can no longer look after their own finances and property (through accident or sudden illness affecting their mental health). On other occasions a person may be experiencing a gradual decline in their mental health. It can be very difficult for family members to know what to do for the best. We can offer advice and assistance. Before a Court of Protection application is made, a doctor will have to certify that a person can no longer look after their own finances and property. Medical opinion will always be the starting point.
How long will it take?
This can often depend on what assets a Patient has. A full Court of Protection order appointing a Receiver can take three or four months. If there are assets over £10,000 it is likely that a full order will be needed. Faster Orders can be made in some circumstances.
What do I do about bills in the meantime?
Sometimes a bank account may be frozen by a bank if they are aware that their customer can no longer manage their account. Sometimes an elderly relative may need to go into residential or nursing care and may own a house which needs to be sold to pay for care fees. Residential and nursing homes often understand that a family member has to apply to the Court of Protection to take control of finances. Other creditors may not have come across the situation before. Specialising in Court of Protection work, we can help deal with any creditors and provide assistance through the whole application procedure.