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All accounts including joint accounts frozen

Financial institutions have it within their power to freeze all accounts including joint accounts to stop anyone from accessing funds and take advantage of the person who has lost capacity.

They will not allow access even to stop redirect or continue direct debits or standing orders.

Will only release once court order obtained.

Cannot sign any documentation including applications for benefits, tenancy agreements, claiming Critical illness insurance

As the individual will have no ability to consider and agree any legal documentation then it is impossible without a Court order to apply for, renew or amend benefits

This may be important especially if someone was not in receipt of benefits prior to their illness and could lose out on many months of benefits even once a court order obtained the benefits will not be backdated. If they are in rented accommodation then they will not be able to renew tenancy agreement.

No applications can be made to claim any insurance or make any claims on behalf of the individual if the illness or loss of capacity was as a result of personal injury e.g. car accident.

Cannot sell house Unable to deal with the property as no legal capacity so cannot sell it or arrange to rent it out and cannot apply for any grants in relation to the property or authorise any repairs. It is not possible to move the utility agreements or negotiate new deals

Cannot renegotiate mortgage terms or sort out loan repayments or deal with credit cards

No authority over the mortgage and may not even be able to get basic information.

Cannot negotiate payment holidays or change to interest only – cannot obtain a better mortgage deal and cannot deal with any outstanding loans or credit cards to either consolidate or negotiate any lower payments.

No authority to even obtain balances.

No authority to deal with any court proceedings if they start to try and repossess house or recover debt.


Cannot change or cash in investments (sell shares move to account with better interest)

No access to investments or shares so unable to either deal with voting, move payments sell shares or re-invest.

Cannot access/withdraw funds arranged to pay bills

Will not be allowed to access funds or set up direct debits or use debit cards and cannot even set up arrangements to pay bills.

Will have to get a court order which is costly, can take 6- 12 months to obtain and is very restrictive Court order can cost in excess of £5k – £10k with solicitor’s fees.

Will also be required to obtain and pay for a indemnity policy to protect individual interests which could be a considerable sum.

All decisions need to be overseen by the court and yearly accounts prepared and approved.

On going court fees for every approval.

The process is long-winded and costly.

Cannot apply to court for an order once you have lost capacity

There is no ability for family to apply for an order to be able to make decisions.

The right automatically passes to Social Services.

Family cannot decide who will look after you

No family or even the spouse will have the ability to make decisions.

Social Services will make all decisions and may or may not take the family’s wishes into account.

Social Services will make ALL decisions

 Social services will have the ability to make all decisions including where the individual lives.

Family will have little or no input.

Family will have no control over major health decisions (life sustaining treatment)

Social Services will make all decisions about health and welfare and will liaise with medical professionals about medical decisions.

They will decide whether life sustaining treatment is provided or not based on the opinion of medical support providers.

This may be against the family’s wishes.

Social Services will not take into account what is best for the family only what is best for the individual in their opinion – They may deem care home is cheaper than at home care.

When making decisions Social Services will only look at what is best for the individual and will not look at family circumstances or opinions.

If they deem that the individual being in a care home would be cheaper then they will make that decision even if the family is willing and able to look after the individual.

Couples have been separated because they will only consider the individual not the family unit. Because they will only look at the individual and not the family unit as a whole there have been instances where couples have been separated and placed in care homes many miles apart because it was cheaper.


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Many people think that if they were to lose mental capacity due to an illness or accident, their partner/spouse could simply take over all their property, financial affairs and healthcare decisions. Without an LPA this cannot happen. The Mental Health Capacity Act is designed to protect people who have lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves. Without an LPA it could be very difficult for your family even if property and bank accounts are jointly owned. In many cases an application to the Court of Protection to become a deputy is required. This gives similar powers to that of an Attorney. But it’s a time-consuming and expensive process.

When a Lasting Power of Attorney has already been drawn up and registered, the situation is considerably easier.

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