It is often accepted by clients that if they sign a Power of Attorney in favour of a child or a trusted person, that that person will be able to handle their affairs in case they become incapable of managing their own affairs, irrespective of their mental state.

The question that arises is whether such a Power of Attorney would remain operational in the event of the parent becoming incapable of managing his own affairs, for example in an instance where the parent is diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimers disease.

The answer is no. Our law requires that a curator must be appointed by a court to manage the financial affairs of a person (the patient) who is unable to do so himself due to diminished mental capacity. Essentially, once appointed, the curator bonis steps into the shoes of the patient with regard to the management of his affairs and to the extent provided for in the order of court. This usually includes a duty to manage the patient’s finances and assets, and in need, arrange the correct care for the patient. At all times, throughout the duration of the curatorship, the curator bonis remains accountable to the Master of the High Court in the exercise of his duties.

It is thus important that the correct procedures are followed when you handle your parents’ affairs when they are no longer capable of doing so themselves.

With thanks to STBB