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 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.