Families across Worcestershire face being left with huge bills for the care of older relatives unless they act early to arrange control of their loved ones’ finances.
The alert has come from lawyer Ellie Day from legal firm mfg Solicitors, who is concerned that people will find bank accounts frozen unless they arrange for lasting power of attorney to protect their property and financial affairs.
The legal arrangement allows someone to nominate a trusted friend or relative to access their finances and pay bills on their behalf – an essential tool for people caring for loved ones whose mental capacity may be failing.
However, powers of attorney can only be granted while the person it covers is still of sound mind and able to consent. If they are not, then a costly and time consuming process requires people to go via the courts, during which time bank accounts are frozen.
Miss Day said: “A lot of people think that if they have made a will and appointed an Executor, all their financial affairs are in order. Sadly, they are wrong and we are seeing heart breaking examples across the region.
“If a lasting power of attorney is not granted and the person has lost their mental capacity, their bank accounts will be frozen and that can lead to a financial nightmare.
“That may mean the financial burden of paying for things like nursing care will initially fall on their relatives.”
Miss Day said the only alternative would be a Deputyship Order via the court, a process which can be extremely expensive and time consuming to put in place.
She added: “The Deputyship Order route takes time and costs money. And on top of the court fees, those care bills will continue to have to be paid.
“Watching a loved one deteriorate as a result of Alzheimer’s or dementia is distressing enough without big bills on top.
“Lasting powers of attorney are essential. If granted, they need only be used in the event that the person loses their mental capacity. Once in place, however, it’s another weight off everyone’s minds.”
For advice on lasting power of attorney readers can contact Ellie Day at mfg Solicitors by emailing email@example.com or calling 0845 55 55 321.