Fortunately for people who do go a bit do-lally, the Government is ready to come to the rescue. It will decide who looks after your money and what you spend it on while it judges who is competent to look after you and your assets.
I remember coming across something a bit like this some years ago when my father was taken ill in Germany and we had to fill out some court papers basically turning my father and his belongings over to the Federal Government who would then take decisions on his behalf. I thought it was a bit odd at the time but this was Germany and they do have their own special ways of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.
Well it looks like this ‘efficiency’ has now crossed the North Sea and you now have to do the same thing here if a parent or other close family member becomes mentally or physically deficient and are unable to conduct their own affairs.
If you have someone who needs their affairs taking care of, you now have to apply to the Court of Protection. The court conducts its business in secret and in the two years since it’s been running it has taken control of £3.2 billion of assets. What’s more, it charges for the privilege of doing this. If you wish to be trusted to do the job yourself then you must fill out a 50-page form and then allow yourself to be vetted by a team of civil servants based in Birmingham. These chappies go under the name of the Office of the Public Guardian. There are 300 of them beavering away at a cost of £26 million a year. They have the power to freeze assets or even raid homes for documents.
Now there’s no denying that there are some unscrupulous types who may try to bamboozle some poor sufferer of Alzheimers out of their money or get them to change their will, but surely their must be a better way of dealing with this problem instead of treating all husbands, wives and children as wicked gold diggers?
Well, fortunately there is a way but it will cost you. If you take out an enduring power of attorney (a bit pricey but worth having) or register a living will, then those nosey parkers will have to keep their invasive little snouts out of your family’s business.
So tomorrow I’m summoning a solicitor to come to my bedside so I can make my own living will. No sniveling little pen-pushing bureaucrat’s going to get their sticky little hands on my £100 of Premium Bonds or my lucky lottery numbers!