Managing Someone Else’s Affairs
Some people are unable to carry out certain actions or make certain decisions alone (or for themselves), or are worried that this may be the case in the future. This might be due to having a learning disability or a mental health problem, for example dementia.
Managing someone else’s affairs can mean a number of things, including:
· looking after their bank accounts, savings, investments or other financial affairs
· buying and selling property on their behalf
· claiming and spending welfare benefitson their behalf
· deciding where they live
· making decisions about their day-to-day personal care or healthcare
There are different ways of helping / managing someone else’s affairs - the different methods are for different purposes and have differing levels of legal status.
If you are unable to collect your benefits or tax credits you can appoint someone to collect them on your behalf. The person you appoint is often referred to as an agent.
If your benefits or tax credits are paid into your bank or building society account, contact the bank or building society to arrange for someone else to collect them. If the money is paid into a post office card account and needs to be regularly collected by someone else, contact the post office and ask about arranging for someone else to collect it.
If you need help with claiming and dealing with welfare benefits or tax credits you can ask for someone else to be made an appointee. They can only be an appointee if one of the following bodies has appointed them to act on your behalf:
· A court of law
· The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
· HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. You need to have capacity when you sign this document. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
· Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs
· Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place means that the person you appoint will not have to go through the Court of Protectionto make decisions on your behalf if you lose the mental capacity to do this for yourself.
How can I arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The forms can be filled in without professional legal advice. However, if there are complicated details or things you are unsure about you may want to ask a solicitor to help you.
The Lasting Power of Attorney has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardianbefore it can be used and there is a registration fee. It can only be used once you are unable to make your own decisions – a medical professional or court of law will help to decide if you have lost the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
You can get more information about Lasting Power of Attorney and download the forms you need on the DirectGov website.
Enduring Power of Attorney
You may already have a legal document called an Enduring Power of Attorney. Enduring Powers of Attorney have been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney but may still be used if they were made and signed before October 2007. You can find out more about enduring powers of attorney on the DirectGov website.
Page Last Updated: 9 December 2013
A deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protectionto make decisions for someone who is unable to do so on their own.
A deputy is responsible for making decisions for someone until either the person they’re looking after dies or is able to make decisions on their own again.
The Mental Capacity Actis used to work out if someone can make their own decisions and how they can be helped.
The court won’t appoint someone as deputy if the person is able to make their own decisions. You may be able to make a lasting power of attorneyinstead. Contact the Office of the Public Guardianif you don’t know what to do.
A deputy is usually a close friend or relative of the person who needs help making decisions.
A deputy can also be a professional, like an accountant or a solicitor. Local authorities are often appointed as a deputy.
Deputies must be over 18.
The Court of Protection can appoint a ‘panel deputy’ to look after someone’s financial affairs if no one else can do this.
A panel deputy is someone with specialist knowledge of mental capacity law.
There are 2 types of deputies:
There can be more than 1 person appointed as deputy to each type.
The Court of Protection will tell the deputy about:
Deputies can’t make a decision for someone if the person can make the decision without their help (eg, overrule the person’s decision). However, a deputy can still help the person reach a decision.
However, a deputy can use the Court Funds Office, or a bank or building society account to help someone with their finances.