Frozen Bank Account: a Readers Question.
My husband has gone into a Care Home and I told the bank clerk when I went to get my housekeeping. She fetched a manager, and she told me the account must be frozen unless I could get my husband to come in for an interview, or get Court authority to get any cash.
I am at my wits end – I have no money to buy food or even get the bus to see my husband. He isn’t mobile, so it is impossible for him to get to the bank. Do I have to starve to death?”
Anon of Polegate or Eastbourne or Hailsham.
Eastbourne Law Reply. Frozen Bank Account.
You didn’t give us any contact details, so we have given a generalised answer.
For the bank to have acted the way they did, the bank account must be either an account in both of your names, or one in his name where you are allowed to sign.
Such accounts only work when the account owner or both owners in the case of a joint account are “of sound mind.” In the circumstances, they would be failing in their duty not to freeze the account, What they need is proof that your husband is still perfectly capable of making decisions or for you to produce a Power of Attorney. They probably won’t accept a General Power of Attorney without some additional proof that your husband is mentally well. We can organise a General Power of Attorney very quickly subject to your husband having sufficient mental capacity. In our experience, the bank will probably refuse to visit or telephone him, but they might accept a doctors letter or one from the Care Home, especially if signed by a qualified nurse. Ask, and mention the Banking Ombudsman!!
If that doesn’t work, we can assist you to obtain an emergency Court Order fairly quickly but it will only cover the one issue. It would have been cheaper in the long run to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place for such situations. Everyone should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney and the Property and Financial Affairs one deals with this situation. If your husband has mental capacity, we can organise a Lasting Power of Attorney within 24 hours but it has to be registered by the Court before it can be used and that can be a pretty slow process. We’ll do our best to chase it through but the normal Court delay is an appalling 2 to 3 months,
If your husband does not have sufficient mental capacity to instruct us to prepare a lasting Power of Attorney then we can help you with the paperwork for you to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed your husband’s Deputy.
We realise in this particular circumstance you will not have the funds to pay us until you have access to you the bank account. In these circumstances we may agree to wait for payment and to possibly even fund the court fee (£400 for Court of Protection Deputy-ship application, £110 for application for each Lasting Power of Attorney) ourselves provided there are sufficient funds in the account to repay us.
Everyone should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Finance plus Health and Welfare. Unless you can predict the future with 100% accuracy, 3 months ahead, contact us to organise Lasting Powers of Attorney on 01323 406299 today.