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Can I keep using the joint bank account?

Powers of Attorney -

They can’t manage their finances anymore – can I keep using the joint bank account?

This is a question many people can face.

Joint Bank accounts

They may have always shared a joint bank account with their spouse or partner and but then something happens and their loved one loses the ability to manage their finances or the capacity to make decisions about their finances. 

It might have been agreed between a parent and an adult child that they would help them with their finances and they became a joint account holder but the parent subsequently lost capacity to deal with their finances.

Most people think that they can keep running the account as they always have but once the joint account holder loses capacity the situation changes.

At this very difficult time the authority that was given in opening the joint account is no longer valid.  This is because the other joint account holder does not have the ability to understand what is going on in the bank account and authorise transactions.

Powers of Attorney

If the joint account holder made a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney to deal with their financial affairs, once it is registered, their Attorneys can start acting and take over managing their finances.  The Office of the Public Guardian recommends that the moneys of the person who made the power of attorney are kept separately from the Attorneys monies, even if they are partners or spouses.

The right people as Attorneys

It is so important for people to be aware of choosing the right people to be their Attorneys and to consider appointing their spouse, or partner or adult children who they trust as their attorneys but also to review their legal documents regularly. 

Changing relationships

Additionally in the event of a relationship breakdown you need to think about whether the attorneys that you previously appointed, who could be your ex-partner, separated spouse or estranged child, are still the right people to be your attorneys.

For more advice about making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or on removing and replacing Attorneys your please contact Veronica Male, our Court of Protection specialist, on 01788 557 574 or by email on

For information about making Lasting Powers of Attorney and the role of an Attorney please visit our attorney pages.