Power of Attorney for Joint Bank Accounts

Power of Attorney Document

You may think that you do not need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) because your money is held in a joint bank account with your partner. Many people assume that if something was to happen to them, their partner would be able to carry on operating the account and continue to have full access to their pension and other income paid into the account.

Unfortunately it is not as simple as that. In accordance with guidance from the British Bankers’ Association, it is common practice for High Street banks to freeze withdrawals from a joint bank account if one of the account holders is mentally incapable. You may not automatically be able to access a joint account unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney or have been appointed as Deputy by the Court of Protection.

The reason being is that a joint account can only operate if there is continuing agreement between both parties that can withdraw from the account. If one party loses mental capacity, they are unable to agree to these terms. The same applies to third party signatories on bank accounts, if you lose mental capacity you can no longer agree to the terms of the third party mandate. As soon as the bank becomes aware of the incapacity and blocks the account, it could take several months to appoint a Deputy if there is no Power of Attorney in place.

Therefore, it is very important that you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney as soon as possible. Relatives may face long delays and expenses in applying to the Court of Protection to get access and take control of your assets and finances.

Contact us to find out more.