Allowing someone to manage your affairs or managing someone else’s - Third Party Mandate, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or appointing a Deputy
If you or someone you care for is diagnosed with a serious illness or a deteriorating health condition, it may be difficult to think about every day matters such as paying bills, managing bank accounts or living arrangements. But by thinking about practical matters now and making some decisions sooner rather than later, friends, family and carers will be aware of your wishes and preferences and will be able to take them into account.
Help with day to day banking – Third Party Mandate
It might be practical to arrange for someone else to manage your bank account. To do this you should ask your bank for a Third Party Mandate. This will allow someone to manage your day-to-day banking but not to close or open accounts or apply for an overdraft in your name. Third Party Mandates are appropriate for people who have physical difficulty carrying out banking tasks but not if they are losing the ability to make relevant decisions themselves.
The Law Society have written guide to Third Party Mandates which may be downloaded here.
Managing someone else’s bank account when they do not have mental capacity - Lasting Power of Attorney
A person does not have mental capacity if they cannot understand, remember and act upon appropriate information and so cannot reliably make decisions for themselves. This may happen in the later stages of dementia, for example. Before this happens, you can
give someone you trust control or ‘power of attorney’ over your affairs. The legal document needed to do this is called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and there are two types:
LPA for Health and Welfare – this will concern decisions about medical treatment, what kinds of treatment you will or will not allow. It also may concern where you want to live. This kind of LPA can be set up in advance but is not used before capacity is lost.
LPA for Property and Affairs – this allows the trusted person to access bank accounts, pay bills, collect income and benefits and sell property. This type of LPA is set up in advance and may actioned when you still have capacity.
You can download the forms to set up an LPA or complete the process online
Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney
Both types of LPAs are only valid if registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. An LPA can be registered online and there is a fee. The fee is reduced if you are on a low income or waived altogether if in receipt of certain means tested benefits.
Further details and information on the registration process including fees may be found here
Taking on someone’s affairs after mental capacity has been lost – Appointing a Deputy
A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be registered and enforced after someone has lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves. For example, after a major stroke, while they are in a coma or after a serious brain injury. In these circumstances, the Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy to manage their affairs. Further details may be found here
If you are worried about the actions or decisions of an appointed attorney or a deputy, concerns can be raised with the Office of the Public Guardian here
Further advice and useful links
The circumstances for which an LPA is registered or Deputy appointed vary widely and it is important to get advice. The following services may be able to provide further guidance:
Your guide to Dementia Services in Hounslow Download here
SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) is an independent, national organisation of lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
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