We will all know of people who have had an accident, a stroke, other physical illness or who have become mentally incapable.
If you were to become incapable of managing your affairs, who do you think would have the legal right to take over this responsibility?
The most common answer is "my wife, my partner or my children."
Unfortunately, this is the wrong answer, your nearest and dearest have no legal right to take over the running of your affairs, unless you have given them that legal right, usually through a LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY and most importantly, before you lost your capacity.
In reality, if you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs and you have not nominated someone prior to your incapacity, your spouse/partner or child have to apply through the Courts, to be allowed access to bank accounts etc. This can be a long and expensive process and worse still, the people you least wished to look after your affairs could be granted that right. In the meantime Social Services and often The Courts, can take over the management of your affairs while this process takes place. In other words they can gain control of your bank accounts and may, in certain circumstances sell your assets.
If you (or your elderly parent) lose capacity, the only way to ensure that the people who care about you most, have control of your affairs, is to complete a LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY, remembering that this must be done before you lose capacity.