As a manager or owner of a care home, it is not uncommon to welcome a new resident who has sufficient funds to self-fund; only to find they are not able to access those funds and nobody has any authority to do it for them. The new resident can settle in very quickly, however, you may find that, due to the cost of care, the individual cannot discharge any invoices for many months and could potentially lead to a cash flow situation.
If you ever do find yourself in this situation, the sooner you act, the sooner you will get paid.
Lasting Power of Attorney
If your new resident is unable to manage their money due to a physical issue and they have mental capacity they can make a Lasting Power of Attorney and appoint someone to act as their attorney to make financial decisions for them. This will include managing their bank accounts, discharging any invoices and even selling their house if required. As soon as the Lasting Power of Attorney is registered the attorney(s) can act, however the registration process can take up to 10 weeks (more on occasions) so the sooner you suggest this to the resident the sooner someone will be able to act for them and discharge your invoices.
If the resident does not have the mental capacity to understand what a Lasting Power of Attorney does the only way for someone to access and manage their assets is to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as that person’s deputy. This process is more cumbersome and it can take 4-6 months from submitting the application to getting the Order, sometimes even longer. During the application process no-one will have the authority to manage the residents’ assets which means that your invoices can not be paid.
Who can act in these roles?
In both cases, friends and family are usually the first port of call to manage their loved ones finances. If your resident is visited by friends or family you may want to suggest that they speak to a solicitor about these appointments. If the resident is going to make a Lasting Power of Attorney they will choose who to appoint but if they lack capacity and a deputy needs to be appointed the deputy will choose to act themselves. In either case a specialised solicitor will be able to advise the resident and their friends/family on these documents and how they are used.
Quite often people go into care and there are no family and friends or what family and friends there are would be unable or unwilling to act in these roles. As the manager or owner of a care home this can leave you in a difficult position as your bills need paying but there is no one to act on behalf of your resident. In these cases a professional can be appointed to take on this role. At Gorvins we act for many people both as attorneys and deputies and ensure that these people’s finances are looked after properly, that all invoices from care homes are discharged and that that resident has sufficient petty cash to fund day to day activities, toiletries etc.
How Gorvins can help?
More and more people are needing help with their finances and do not have any documentation in place to enable anyone to do that. The experienced, STEP qualified solicitors in our Wills, Trust and Probate team can provide these residents, family and friends with the expertise to give them peace of mind. We can also speak to you as care home owners, managers and workers and advise you on what to do when your residents do not have these documents in place.
Whether you require more information on this or other associated issues, our team can help you out. You can give Christine Thornley a ring on 0343 507 5151 or e-mail an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Thornley is partner and head of Gorvins Solicitors’ Wills, Trusts & Probate team. As a member of the Society of Trusts & Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the holder of the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes, Christine is one of the most recognised private client solicitors in the North West.