What happens to your joint bank account if you lose mental capacity?

There is a general misconception that when one party loses capacity the party who still has capacity can still access the funds in the joint account.  Much to your surprise, this is not the case!

The British Bankers’ Association guidance states that ‘if one joint account holders loses mental capacity, banks and building societies can decide whether or not to temporarily restrict the use of the account to essential transactions only (for example, living expenses and medical or residential-care bills) until a deputy has been appointed or a power of attorney registered ’.

The bank will usually require either:

  • a registered lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs;
  • a registered enduring power of attorney; or
  • a deputy order from the Court of Protection.

The reasoning why Banks require such evidence is to protect the account from fraudulent use.  This, of course, can be very frustrating for the capable account holder who simply wants to manage an account in which they have an interest.

At AS Solicitors we can help ensure that if one party loses capacity the other party who still has capacity can still access funds in the joint account.

If you have mental capacity, we strongly advise, you prepare, sign and register a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs. You will then be able to appoint a trusted individual(s) to manage all of your financial affairs, including all of your bank accounts, held in your sole name or in joint names with others. We can help you through the process of the preparing and registration your Lasting Power of Attorney. http://www.as-solicitors.com/services/wills-and-probate/power-of-attorney/

If you are a joint account holder with someone who no longer has mental capacity then it is important you find out if there is a Lasting Power of Attorney already in place. If not, then an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a financial deputy to act on behalf of the person who lacks mental capacity. If you would like to apply to be appointed deputy to act on behalf of someone who lacks capacity we can help you with the application. http://www.as-solicitors.com/court-of-protection/

For more information and advice about making a Lasting Power of Attorney or Court of Protection deputy applications contact us on 020 8318 4345 or email enquiries@as-solicitors.com. Our offices are conveniently located in South East London, Lewisham, Lee Green, SE12.