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Different ways of managing someone’s affairs in England and Wales

There are different ways of managing someone’s affairs.

Which option is appropriate depends on whether the person you are looking after can currently make their own decisions (which is called having mental capacity) or whether they are unable to make their own decisions (which is called lacking mental capacity).

See the section called “Mental capacity in England and Wales” for further information on mental capacity.


The person I look after can currently make their own decisions but wants help managing their money

Appointee

If the person you look after needs help to manage their benefits and there is not already a lasting power of attorney in place, you could apply to be their appointee.

This means that you become responsible for making and maintaining any benefit claims on behalf of the person you look after.

For more information on appointees you can visit the gov.uk website.

Third party mandate

If the person you look after wants help managing their bank account then they could make a third party mandate with their bank. This means that they name a specific person (for example you as their carer), and this gives you the authority to manage the bank account. You should speak to the bank of the person you look after to request a third party mandate arrangement.

Ordinary power of attorney

If the person you look after wants help managing their bank account and other financial affairs then they could grant an ordinary power of attorney to a specific person (for example you as their carer). This means that the specific person has the authority to deal with any financial affairs specified in the ordinary power of attorney. If the person you look after wants to grant an ordinary power of attorney they could contact a local advice centre to see if they can help or they could contact a legal adviser.

Note: Both third party mandates and ordinary power of attorney’s can only be used while the person you look after can make their own decisions (so has mental capacity). For example, they may want you to act for them while they are in hospital or unable to get out and about. If they are unable to make their own decisions (so if they lack mental capacity) neither of these will be valid. If you think the person you look after might be unable to make their own decisions in the future see the section called “The person I look after can currently make their own decisions but wants to make arrangements in case they are unable to make their own decisions in the future”.

Lasting power of attorney

If the person you look after is 18+ and wants help managing their bank account and other financial affairs, both now and if they are unable to make decisions in the future, then they could grant a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs to a specific person (for example you as their carer). This means that the specific person has the authority to deal with any financial affairs which the lasting power of attorney specifies. This can be used as soon as it is registered, and can continue to be used if the person you look after becomes unable to make their own decisions (so if they lack mental capacity). See below for some further information on lasting power of attorneys.

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The person I look after can currently make their own decisions but wants to make arrangements in case they are unable to make their own decisions in the future

Lasting power of attorney

If the person you look after is 18+ and can currently make their own decisions but wants to make arrangement in case they are unable to make decisions in the future then they could make a lasting power of attorney. This means that they appoint a specific person (for example you as their carer) to have the authority to make certain decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

  • power of attorney for property and financial affairs - which covers things such as bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits or pensions and selling a home
  • power of attorney for health and welfare – which covers things such as medical care and social care

The person you look after can make just one type of lasting power of attorney, or both types of lasting power of attorney.

Note: A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney can be used before the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions, if they so wish. However a health and welfare lasting power of attorney can only be used if the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions.

For more information about lasting power of attorney’s, including how to make a lasting power of attorney, how to register a lasting power of attorney and the fees involved, you can view the gov.uk website.

If the person you look after wants to grant a lasting power of attorney and wants some help with this, they could contact a local advice centre to see if they can help, or they could contact a legal adviser.

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The person I look after is unable to make their own decisions

Appointee

If the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions and needs help to manage their benefits, then if there is not already a lasting power of attorney in place, you could apply to be their appointee.

This means that you become responsible for making and maintaining any benefit claims on behalf of the person you look after.

For more information on appointees you can visit the gov.uk website.

Court appointed deputy

If the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions and needs help to manage more than just their benefits, then if there is not already a lasting power of attorney in place, you could apply to become their court appointed deputy. This means that if your application is successful you will have the authority to make certain decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of court appointed deputy:

  • court appointed deputy for property and financial affairs – which covers things such as bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits and pensions and selling a home
  • court appointed deputy for personal welfare – which covers things such as medical care and social care

You can apply to be just one type of court appointed deputy, or both types of court appointed deputy, but it is worth noting that it is less common for personal welfare court appointed deputy applications to be successful.

For more information on court appointed deputies, including how to apply to become a court appointed deputy, who you need to notify about your application and the fees involved, you can visit the gov.uk website.

If you want to apply to be a court appointed deputy and want some help with this, you could contact a local advice centre to see if they can help, or you could contact a legal adviser.

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