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Joint Accounts Now Routinely Frozen if Capacity Lost

Earlier this year, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) released guidance that revealed it is common practice for banks to freeze withdrawals from a joint account if one of the account holders is mentally incapable, until the appointment of an attorney or deputy.

This, once again, highlights the importance of having a registered power of attorney that could be used when needed.

A person does not have mental capacity if they cannot understand, remember and act upon appropriate information and so cannot reliably make decisions for themselves.

The BBA says if you are the joint account holder and the other joint account holder becomes mentally incapable, you do not automatically have the right to access the account unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or an order from the Court of Protection.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives powers to another person to take care of the financial or legal affairs of a person who has lost mental capacity or no longer wants to deal with such issues on their own.