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Wills, Probate & Trust

“Everything is in our joint names anyway”

Married couple with a joint account

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Many people believe that if you have a joint account with your partner or spouse, if one of you loses capacity, the other can continue use of the account. This is not true. In fact, if a joint account holder loses capacity, the account will, in most cases, be frozen by the bank or building society until they have sight of an Order from the Court of Protection which protects the rights of the incapacitated person, unless there is Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

Topically, this is exactly what happened to Kate Garraway when her husband, Derek Draper, was admitted to hospital on 30 April 2020 with COVID-19. Her access to their joint account was stopped because her husband was incapacitated. Similarly, Ms Garraway experienced issues trying to make changes to their joint mortgage, as any decisions needed to be agreed by both parties to the mortgage. Had Mr Draper made and registered a Lasting Power of Attorney, these issues would not have arisen.

Preparing and having a Lasting Power of Attorney registered typically takes four months in total, which means it cannot be put in place urgently in the event of sudden incapacitation. COVID-19 and the example of Mr Draper has reminded us that incapacity can strike very quickly. The time to therefore prepare your Lasting Power of Attorney is now, so that it is ready to be used if and when it is needed.

Please contact felicitynelson@samuelphillips.co.uk or 0191 232 8451 for more information and to see how we can help.

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