Registering a power of attorney can often be a stressful time for all those involved but recent reports have revealed that the situation may be further exacerbated by financial institutions failing to recognise powers of attorney at critical times, particularly when a loved one has lost their mental capacity. In response, the Financial Ombudsman has issued guidance, tips and information about handling difficult situations. The information is intended for consumers and banks and can be accessed via the Financial Ombudsman website.
A key focus of the resources designed by the Ombudsman for financial institutions is on helping banks understand the stress that a Donee (the person registering a power of attorney) could be under and how they can avoid issues that may lead to complaints against the bank. The informative website also explains what a power of attorney is and when it might be used.
Consumers can also refer to the website to better understand the requirements of their bank to enable a power of attorney to be registered.
The aim is to resolve many of the misunderstandings around powers of attorney which tend to be at the root of the problems that arise. Although some situations will still require further help from the Ombudsman, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Courts, it is hoped that this new guidance will help bank staff talk through the options with customers and their loved ones, helping them to better serve the interests of a Donee dealing with dementia or other conditions that may affect their mental capacity.
BLM Blogs are not meant, or designed, to offer personal advice; for advice in relation to your own situation, please contact us.