Where patients are suffering from mental disorder, one of the early questions asked is how best their financial affairs can be managed. Very often, in the case of elderly people, bills have been left unpaid, letters unopened and even court summonses unattended to. They may need to move to a nursing home or other residential care and their house or flat may need to be sold to pay fees. Until 1986, the only valid way of arranging for patients' financial affairs to be looked after (except in the simplest of cases) was by application to the Court of Protection, who could appoint a receiver to stand in the patient's shoes or make a ‘short procedure’ order to cater for patients whose assets were small and easily-managed.
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