Q: My father has been diagnosed with dementia and needs to move into a care-home. He has lived alone for three years since my mother passed away, but is no longer capable of taking care of himself. What can I do to help him sell his house and manage his finances?
A: Firstly you should check whether your father still has capacity to decide for himself who he would like to help him manage his affairs.
If he can still choose someone to help him make decisions, he can appoint up to four people to act in a Lasting Power of Attorney. The attorneys will be able to deal with his finances, sell his house and make sure the care home fees are paid. The whole process should take around three months to complete.
Unfortunately if your father no longer has capacity to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, you will then need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed his deputy. As deputy you will have the same powers as an attorney, however it will be at the discretion of the court whether you are appointed rather than your father being allowed to choose. It is also likely to take at least six months to finalise the application.
The best advice would be to act quickly. If your father is still capable of appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney then he should do so immediately. If he doesn’t and it is necessary to apply to the Court of Protection you should get the ball rolling now, as your father’s assets will be inaccessible whilst the application is ongoing.
A solicitor will be able to advise regarding your father’s capacity and the likely route you will need to take.