Power of Attorney
in Marriage, relationships & families
3 replies 225 views
Do you need a power of attorney if you are married? All assets are jointly held so I’m not sure what the benefits would be?
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What happens when the first spouse dies, and the other one lacks mental capacity? Do you want decisions made by Social Services or a family member?
And deputyship (the alternative) takes a lot longer to arrange, costs a lot more in fees and is far more onerous regarding management. Your deputy won't thank you for failing to put in place a power of attorney.
It is a horror story, and therefore rare, but the one I have heard involves a couple with young children, where the husband was self-employed. He had an accident, was hospitalised and in a coma. Wife rang the bank to explain and ask for payment holiday on the mortgage, overdraft etc, and ... the bank froze the joint account, to protect the interests of the husband.
Which is the correct action to take. A joint account is only appropriate where both parties are able to make decisions / look after it.
Of course what more often happens is that one half of a couple gently slides into a lack of capacity. The other picks up the slack, takes over the reins, and the bank never notices. But it's a risk, especially if the second person then loses the plot.
Which reminds me, it's on the To Do list of a dear friend. I need to gently enquire how they're getting on. They really do need it: living alone, no close relatives - so if they need an advocate, for anything, they need the LPA for Wealth and Health IMO.