Serving the people of Bradford, Harrogate, Selby and Craven Districts

The person you are caring for may need help to manage their financial affairs.

The nature of their illness will of course dictate the sort of help they need. A person who is frail or ill may need someone simply to collect their money from a bank, building society or post office.

If someone lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs they will need another person to deal with everything – making decisions, making claims and managing money.

Mental capacity is the ability to understand and retain information, enabling you to make your own decisions.

Banking and building society transactions

If the person you are caring for has mental capacity to make their own decisions, there are several ways in which you might access money on their behalf. These could include:

Basic bank account

This is an account with limits on what can be done, e.g. not going overdrawn.

Joint accounts

Joint accounts allow named account holders to have equal access to funds. To operate a joint account, both parties need to be fully accountable for running the account.

If you are a joint account holder and the other joint account holder subsequently loses mental capacity, you do not automatically have the right to access this account unless you have Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or an order from the Court of Protection.

Standing orders

These are set up by the account holder and give the bank instructions to transfer an exact amount of money to another account on a regular basis.

Direct debits

Direct debits give a company permission to take money out of your account on an agreed date. Direct debits are likely to be used to make payments which may vary e.g. utility bills.

Third party mandates

This is a document and formal arrangement that tells your bank or building society to allow access to your account by another person – a ‘third party’. Terms of the mandate will state the extent of access which is available to the third party – for example, some banks and building societies do not provide card and PIN access to third party mandate holders.

Ordinary Power of Attorney

An Ordinary Power of Attorney can only be arranged when someone is able to make their own decisions regarding their finances and is often just for a temporary basis.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney should not be confused with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).

To find out more, download our Lasting Power of Attorney factsheet or see the information below.

As a carer, you may be the person appointed, known as the ‘attorney’, to manage the finances of a ‘cared for’ person. An Ordinary Power of Attorney may be appropriate if you need to act for someone for a temporary period – to cover a hospital stay or convalescence, for example. They can be arranged through a solicitor or the paperwork can be purchased from specialist stationers.

Additional support from banks

Banks should also offer people additional support to access their money if they need it.

This might include (but isn’t limited to):

  • providing information and letters in easy to read formats
  • allowing different forms of ID if a person does not, for example, receive bills in their name
  • allowing banking in a branch rather than only offering online or telephone banking
  • using a chip and signature card if a person has difficulty recalling their PIN number

Appointees

An appointee acts on someone else’s behalf to manage their finances relating to
benefits. An appointee can be an individual, usually a close relative or friend, or an
organisation such as a firm of solicitors or a local authority. Appointees must be over 18.

An appointee acts in place of the claimant, taking over the same rights and
responsibilities.

How to become an appointee

In the first instance, prospective appointees must contact the office which deals with the relevant benefit. This could be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who deal with most social security benefits, Revenue and Customs for Tax Credits or a local authority for Housing and Council Tax benefits.

Attendance Allowance (AA)
Tel: 0800 731 0122; Textphone: 0800 731 0317

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those born on or before 8 April 1948
Tel: 0800 731 0122; Textphone: 0800 731 0317

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those born after 8 April 1948
Tel: 0800 121 4600; Textphone: 0800 121 4523

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Tel: 0800 121 4433; Textphone: 0800 121 4493

State Pension
Tel: 0800 731 7898; Textphone: 0800 731 7339

Tax Credits
Tel: 0345 300 3900; Textphone: 0345 300 3909

A representative from the office will normally visit the applicant and the person on whose behalf they will act. This is to check that the applicant is a suitable person to act and also to check that the benefits claimant does require an appointee. The responsibilities of a prospective appointee will also be explained.

A person who has been appointed by the DWP will usually be accepted as an appointee by Revenue and Customs and the local authority without having to make a separate application.

The duties of an appointee

The duties of an appointee are to:

  • complete claims forms
  • receive or collect payments
  • deal with correspondence relating to benefits
  • report changes in the claimant’s circumstances
  • take responsibility for any overpayments of benefit and arrange repayments

It should be noted that appointees act only in matters relating to benefits and allowances, whereas an attorney has power over all aspects of someone’s finances. If Power of Attorney has already been arranged, the relevant office making benefit payments should be informed.

Lasting Power of Attorney

If you were to become incapable of managing your legal, property, financial or health affairs, you may need someone to do this for you.

If you need someone to act for you for a temporary period – for example to cover a hospital stay, an Ordinary Power of Attorney may be appropriate. See above for more information on this.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you, the ‘donor’, to formally appoint a friend, relative or professional person as your ‘attorney’ who will make decisions on your behalf.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005, which came into force in 2007, introduced LPA. These replace the old system of Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). An EPA arranged before 1 October 2007 can still be used.

An LPA can be drawn up at any time, providing you have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) and you are aged over 18.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is responsible for administering LPA. This office deals with all applications and registrations.

Contact: Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Online: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian
Email: customerservices@publicguardian.gov.uk

Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to choose someone to make decisions about money and property for you. This could include paying your bills, collecting benefits and dealing with your property, including selling your home, if necessary.

This type of LPA can be used, with your permission, as soon as it is registered with the OPG.

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Health and Welfare LPA allows you to choose someone (known as an Attorney) to make decisions about your healthcare and wellbeing.

Their responsibilities could cover your medical care, including decisions on life-sustaining treatment and decisions on where you live such as moving into a care home. Aspects of your everyday routine such as eating and what you wear can also be decided by an attorney.

This LPA can only be used when it is registered with the OPG and you have become unable to make your own decisions.

Advance Decision (Living Will)

An Advance Decision (or living will) is a document which conveys your future wishes relating to medical treatment if you become unable to communicate this and it applies to refusal of medical treatment.

It is important to know that appointment of an Attorney under a Health and Welfare LPA, after you have made an Advance Decision, can invalidate the Advance Decision.

This happens if you have given your Attorney power to make decisions about the same treatment which you specified in your Advance Decision.

Similarly, if an Advance Decision is made after an appointment of an Attorney, the Advance Decision would overrule the Attorney’s decision. To find out more please refer to our Advance Planning web page.

Appointing your attorney(s)

You can choose one or more people to act on your behalf. An attorney must be aged over 18 and could be a relative, friend or professional person such as a solicitor.

Appointing an attorney will obviously need careful consideration. How well do you know the person? Can you trust them to act in your best interests? Do they appear to deal with their own affairs in a competent way? Anyone who is currently bankrupt cannot be an attorney for a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney

Forms provided by the OPG are used to make an LPA. To complete these forms, you can choose to:

An LPA is a powerful, legal document, and you may wish to take legal advice before completing it. You can talk to Carers’ Resource about how to find a solicitor.

However many people find they are able to complete the forms themselves. It is not a requirement that you use a solicitor.

Registering an LPA

The LPA must be registered with the OPG before it can take effect. An application to register can be made at any time after you have made an LPA.

This may take some weeks so it is advisable to act promptly in case your attorney needs to help you – they cannot act under an LPA until it is registered.

You can register an LPA online – please see details above.

Either you or your attorney can apply to register your LPA. However, if you, as the donor, lose your mental capacity before registration, your attorney has to take this responsibility.

There is a registration fee – currently £82 for each type of LPA. Fees may be reduced or waived depending on financial circumstances. If eligible an LPA120 form (Fee remissions and exemption form) must be completed.

Once the LPA has been registered it can continue indefinitely.

Can I change or cancel my LPA?

You can cancel or change your LPA even if it’s been registered, as long as you still have mental capacity.

Should an attorney lose mental capacity, they will, of course, be unable to act on your behalf but you cannot simply appoint someone else in their place. Always take advice from the OPG or from your solicitor.

To cancel an LPA a ‘deed of revocation’ must be completed. A template is available online at: www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/end

To change an LPA, a ‘partial deed of revocation’ must be completed. Again, there is a template available online at: www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/change-your-lasting-power-of-attorney

If an attorney no longer wishes to act on your behalf, they should complete a ‘disclaimer’ form. The form (LPA005 or EP5) can be downloaded from:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/disclaim-a-lasting-power-of-attorney
www.gov.uk/government/publications/disclaim-an-enduring-power-of-attorney

Complaints

If you wish to complain – for example, you may feel the attorneys are not carrying out their responsibilities correctly – you must contact the OPG or your solicitor.

Further details are available from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Contact: Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Online: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian
Email: customerservices@publicguardian.gov.uk

Enduring Power of Attorney

An EPA applies only to property and financial affairs. A person given power under an EPA before 1 October 2007 can still use it and apply to have it registered.

This person has a duty to apply to register the EPA as soon as they believe that you are becoming or have become mentally incapable of making financial decisions for yourself.

If you have an unregistered EPA and still have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, you can make a Health and Welfare LPA to run alongside it.

You can cancel an unregistered EPA if you have the capacity to do so.

To cancel a registered EPA you must show the Court of Protection:

  • that you understand who the attorney is and what powers they have
  • that you understand the effect of the cancellation
  • that you understand why the EPA is being cancelled

An EPA is revoked if you or the appointed attorney becomes bankrupt.
You can find information on how to cancel an EPA at:
www.gov.uk/use-or-cancel-an-enduring-power-of-attorney

Court of Protection

If a person loses their ability to make their own decisions and they have not arranged an LPA or an EPA it is possible to apply to the Court of Protection for a ‘deputy’ to be appointed.

This is a responsible person who will make decisions on their behalf. Their role is similar to that of an attorney appointed for an LPA.

If a person has no property or savings and their only income is social security benefits such as a state pension, there will usually be no need for a deputy as these payments can be managed by an appointee agreed by the government department which pays the benefit.

Contact: Tel: 0300 456 4600.
Online: www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/court-of-protection
Email: courtofprotectionenquiries@justice.gov.uk

Important note:

This web page contains general information which we hope will be useful to you. Please do not rely on the information as the basis for any financial decisions.

Always contact relevant banks, building societies or other financial services to discuss your situation.

You may wish to consult a solicitor when arranging a Power of Attorney.

Carers’ Resource does not accept any liability arising from use of this information.