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Different ways of managing someone’s affairs in Scotland

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 Scotland” for further information on mental capacity.


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

Appointee

If the person you look after needs help to manage their benefits, and there is not already a relevant 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.

General power of attorney

If the person you look after wants help managing their bank account and other financial affairs then they could grant an general 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 which the general power of attorney specifies. If the person you look after wants to grant a general 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 general 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”.

Continuing power of attorney

If the person you look after 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 continuing 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 which the continuing 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 continuing 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

Power of attorney

If the person you look after 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 power of attorney. This means that they appoint a specific person (for example you as their carer) to make certain decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of power of attorney:

  • continuing power of attorney (sometimes called a financial power of attorney) - which covers things such as bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits or pensions and selling a home
  • welfare power of attorney – which covers things such as medical care and social care

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

Note: A continuing 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 welfare power of attorney can only be used if the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions.

For more information about power of attorney’s, including how to make a power of attorney, how to register a power of attorney and the fees involved, you can view the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

If the person you look after wants to grant a 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 continuing 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.

Access to funds scheme

If the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions, needs help to manage their bank account and if there is not already a continuing power of attorney in place, then you could apply for authority to access and manage their funds (called the access to funds scheme).

For more information on the access to funds scheme, including how to apply, who you need to notify, and the fees involved, you can visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

Guardianship order / intervention order

If the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions, and there is not already a relevant power of attorney in place, then if it is ongoing decisions that you want to manage, you could apply for a guardianship order. 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 guardianship order:

  • guardianship order for financial affairs – which covers things such as bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits and pensions and selling a home
  • guardianship order for welfare – which covers things such as medical care and social care

You can apply to be just one type of guardian, or both types of guardian.

For more information on guardianship orders, including how to apply and the fees involved, you can visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

If the person you look after is unable to make their own decisions, and there is not already a relevant power of attorney in place, then if it is just a one-off decision that needs making, you could apply for an intervention order.

There are two types of intervention order:

  • intervention order for financial affairs – which covers things such as bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits and pensions and selling a home
  • intervention order for welfare – which covers things such as medical care and social care

For more information on intervention orders, including how to apply and the fees involved you can visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

If you want to apply for a guardianship order or intervention order 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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