Airdrie Savings Bank

Airdrie Savings Bank have announced that they will be closing and we have been contacted by clients and other solicitors about the implication of this for infirm and incapacitated people. We have raised our concerns directly with the bank and with North Lanarkshire Council because to take steps to ensure access to your bank or the account of a relative or loved one people need to act now.
We understand that current account facilities are to stop at the end of April and savings accounts will be closed towards the end of this year. As we receive further information we will put updates on our Facebook page.
If you are concerned about the implications of the bank closing for you or friends neighbours and family please tell them to act now and get independent legal advice. We are happy to discuss options with people but we always say that if you are not sure about using this law firm but have a relationship with other solicitors go and speak to them. We would rather you get the proper advice quickly than have the potential consequences of no access to funds.
What are my options?
In terms of incapacity law we believe there will be two categories of account holders. These are:
1. Those who can manage their own affairs but cannot make it into a new bank to set up a new bank account - the infirm.
2. People who are unable to manage their own affairs because they do not have the mental capacity to do so - the incapacitated.

The Infirm

People who are able to instruct solicitors need to instruct the preparation of a Power of Attorney. (PoA) This will appoint someone you trust to have the authority to open the new bank account and close the old account.
There are different types of Power of Attorney and although not necessary to resolve the issue it is generally a good idea to consider a continuing financial and welfare PoA. This requires to be registered and there is a fee for registration. It is about the same amount of work as a PoA that will not continue if you become incapacitated in the future. There is a time delay in getting it registered so you should act now. Further information is available from our free downloadable guide.
If you have any further questions or require further assistance please telephone 01698 269370 or contact us using the boxes below.

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Incapacity

There are a number of options and steps that can be taken to deal with the finances of incapacitated adults. Some can be done at the same time and others are alternatives to each other
Appointeeship
This is a mechanism where someone is appointed by the DWP to deal with a persons benefits. They can direct which bank account the benefits are paid into and therefore the adults benefits can continue to be paid and accessed when the account closes. You should speak to the Social Work department or directly with the DWP about this step and should do this now regardless of any other step you plan to take.
Access to Funds
This is a mechanism where someone applies to be allowed to open a bank account, transfer funds from existing bank accounts and make regular payments from the new account. You can instruct and claim back solicitors fees but it will take about 6 weeks to get this in place. If you are planning to undertake this option you must act now. The bank are advising that this is what they have been told people can do but it will not answer all the problems of the closed accounts. For example if there is a private pension then you cannot direct the payments away from the ABS account into the new account that has been set up.
Guardianship/ Intervention order
This is a much longer process but gives the appointed Guardian the ability to access all aspects of the adults funds. The question of legal aid is complicated but if you seek welfare and financial powers together you are likely to obtain legal aid for most of the cost. Unfortunately this process usually takes about 9 months and should be started now if needed. Again there is further information available on our free downloadable guide.