Lasting Power of Attorney Case Study

Heather Bateman

As seen on BBC’s “The One Show”

– Case Description

In September 2003 Heather Batemans husband Michael was unfortunately struck by a car. He fell down by the side of the road and never spoke another word ever again, he was taken to hospital where he fell into a coma.

This was the start of a three year nightmare dealing with the Court of Protection for Heather.

Summary

Heather and Michael had both written wills, were both on the deeds to their house in London and their cottage in Norfolk. They had separate bank accounts with the bills being mainly paid from Michaels account. Nothing wrong with any of that you might think. However they had not made Lasting Powers of Attorney for each other which is where the nightmare began after Michael was hit by a car and fell into a coma he would never recover from.

As they had no Lasting Power of Attorney for each other Heather required the apporval of the Court of Protection to access Her and Michaels money as he was now a “vulnerable adult”

Here are just a few examples of how the Court acted under the guise of “protecting” my husband:

On the day the letter arrived confirming I had been appointed as Michael’s Official Receiver another letter arrived demanding instant payment of £460; it threw me into a state of shock.

Later, I was told this bill should have arrived a month later. However, this was just the first of many fees to be paid to the Court. They include a commencement fee (£240) and an appointment fee (£315), an administration fee (ranging from £190 to £240), an account fee (£100), various transaction fees (ranging from £60 to £540) and a winding-up fee (£290).

To deal with the forms and additional accounts, I needed the help of an accountant, whose fees also had to be paid. Over the course of two and a half years, more than £3,000 was used up on the Court of Protection.

As Michael’s Receiver I now had access to our accounts. But I was dismayed by the restrictions on my spending. I could write as many cheques as necessary up to £500. But if I needed to access more than that at any one time, I had to get permission from the Court – even to pay our daughter’s university fees and accommodation.

Similarly, when I needed building work done, I had to submit two estimates and justify my choice of builder; I then had to wait several weeks for the Court to give permission and release the funds.

Each time Heather spoke with the Court of Protection she spoke with a different clerk, so she had to explain her distressing case every time. 

The Court of Protection brought me almost as much anger, grief and frustration into my life as the accident itself. 

Heather Bateman

Process

W

Michael Fell into a Coma

W

Bank accounts automatically frozen to Protect Michaels Money.

W

Heather Applied to Court for Access to her and Michaels money.

W

Access Finally granted with onerous conditions attached

W

After Michaels death the conditions were finally lifted

Final Result

Over the course of two and a half years more than £3000 was spent on the Court of Protection Fees. This excludes the amount spent on accountants who had to provide accounts of all the money spent while under the control of the Court of Protection.

 

“After almost three years, Michael died. When I eventually received probate, I cried with grief. A few months later, when I finally closed the Receiver’s account, and my independence and self-respect returned, I cried with joy. At last I was free.

Yet all this could have been avoided – if only I’d known how.”

Heather Bateman

Court Costs

Years Dealing with Court of Protection

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