In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by solicitor Frances Cartwright...

How can I access husband's accounts to pay his care home fees?

Q: My husband has Alzheimer's and sadly he is now having to move into a care home. I have been told that I need to set up a direct debit to pay his care home fees but the bank will not allow me access to his bank accounts and have told me I have no authority to do this.

They have suggested that we set up a Power of Attorney. However, his social worker has said that we cannot do this because he does not have capacity. There is no other way to pay the fees, other than from his separate bank account, so what should I do?

A: If your husband lacks mental capacity then he would not be able to give instructions for a Power of Attorney to be prepared. Based on the other information you have provided the only other option would be for you to apply to be appointed as your Husband's 'Deputy'. A 'Deputy' is somebody who is authorised by the Court of Protection to act on somebody else's behalf to manage their financial affairs.

To be appointed as a Deputy, you must apply to the Court of Protection. The application is complex. It requires a lot of information, including details about your husband's finances, a form confirming his lack of mental capacity and other supporting documentation. The process to be appointed as a Deputy can take around nine to 12 months, so it is important to start the process as soon as possible.

Once you are appointed as a Deputy, there are ongoing duties you are responsible for, such as managing your husband's financial affairs and keeping clear accounting records for submission to the Court of Protection. You should therefore seek advice from an experienced solicitor to guide you through the process.

This question has been answered by Frances Cartwright, a solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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