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If you or a loved one have become unable to manage your own affairs and there is no Enduring Power of Attorney in place, it will may be necessary to have a Controller appointed to do so.

Why Keenan Solicitors?

At Keenan Solicitors our team of solicitors have vast experience in all manner of elderly client services. Our experts will take the time to listen to your and make sure that your wishes are clearly and concisely recorded. We aim to provide essential peace of mind to you and your loved ones, making an often difficult process straightforward.

From the moment you first call or enquire, our friendly and professional team will ensure your needs are looked after.

Our modern office is based on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, and offers large and confidential meeting rooms with onsite parking, allowing you to speak candidly with your solicitor about your needs. Our solicitors recognise that everyone has different requirements and will provide you with bespoke advice, tailored to your individual circumstances.

In addition to this, as our office is based in a former bank building, we have the benefit of having retained the old bank vault, providing you further peace of mind that your documents are securely stored.

When the time comes and your family need guided through the process of administering your estate, our team are hugely experienced in all probate and estate administration matters. We will sensitively and diligently guide your loved ones through the entire process, liaising with banks and all relevant parties and ensuring your wishes are followed.

If you would like to discuss a will or the execution of an estate call us on 028 90 49 3349 or tell us about it and we will call you at a time that suits you.

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Controllerships in Northern Ireland

Whilst we would usually advise to have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place before you lose the capacity to manage your affairs, we understand that this will not always be possible.

The Office of Care and Protection in the High Court will often need to appoint someone, known as a ‘Controller’, to manage your affairs on your behalf.

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Who Can Be a Controller?

A controller is usually your closest relative or friend. Unlike with an Enduring Power of Attorney, you cannot choose who it will be.

If no one is available or willing, they may also be a solicitor appointed by the Office of Care and Protection. If this needs to happen, the professional appointed can charge for their services and their fees will come out of your money, with Office of Care and Protection assessing this.

What Can a Controller Do?

  • Manage your income
  • Keep your property in a good condition
  • Ensure your taxes are paid
  • Ensure that important documents are in order and kept safely

The Office of Care and Protection need to authorise the use of your assets, such as your home or other property, on your behalf. The controller must liaise with the Office of Care and Protection about any investments. The sale of property must also be approved by the Office of Care and Protection.

A controller has to submit annual accounts to the OCP and take out a ‘security bond’ (a type of insurance – meaning that if the controller acts irresponsibly, your assets will be protected).

How to Become a Controller

The process can be costly and time-consuming and it is wise to seek legal advice.

  • The first step is to identify who is the appropriate person to act as Controller. This will often be the closest relative.
  • You then need to get the application form (this is available on the Court website or we can provide this to you). You must detail in full all assets and liabilities and make detailed proposals for what is planned to be done with the assets. This will include anticipated expenditure such as weekly costs, maintenance work on properties and care home fees.
  • If you are applying to become a Controller, you will be required to provide a character reference in your application.
  • You will need a medical certificate and evidence to prove that the person you are applying to become Controller of no longer has sufficient mental capacity to deal with their affairs. We can facilitate a private examination wherever the Patient is living if one hasn’t already been carried out or if there are long waiting times (additional fees apply for this service).
  • There are also strict rules for the service of documents. It is wise to speak to a legal professional for further information regarding this.
  • Court and Professional fees apply.

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