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Help manage the money of someone you’re caring for

Depending on the problems someone’s having with their finances, the help you can offer might involve anything from helping them with bills, paperwork and day-to-day money to taking on a lasting power of attorney.

Providing informal support

When you’re helping support someone with long-term-care needs, it’s important to try to make sure they’re making the best use of their money to meet those needs.

This might mean:

  • helping them with their care plan
  • making sure any allocated care budget is used wisely
  • making sure they have money to spend on the hobbies and activities they enjoy.

A care plan is a written agreement between the person needing support and their health professional and/or social services. Its aim is to help manage that person’s health and well-being, day to day.

A care plan can be reviewed at least once a year – and if the care plan isn’t working or if other things in that person’ life change.

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If you find yourself managing someone’s personal care budget that’s been awarded by a local authority or the NHS, it comes with certain responsibilities and obligations that you must fulfil.

What if someone needs more support?

Arranging to formally manage a friend or family member’s money for them is a big step for both of you.

For them, it means giving up financial control and trusting someone else with their money.

For you, it means taking on responsibility for someone else’s financial future. So it isn’t something to be done lightly.

The law states you must assume someone is able to make their own decisions unless there’s evidence to the contrary.

What if the person you’re caring for ‘lacks mental capacity’, and they haven’t already appointed you or someone else to act as their attorney? 

England and Wales

If you live in England or Wales you can apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to be their ‘deputy’.  

Scotland

If you live in Scotland you can apply to the The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) and apply to be their 'guardian'.

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland it's the Office of Care and Protection (Northern Ireland) where you'll need to apply to be their ‘controller’.

Becoming a deputy, guardian or controller for someone you're caring for means that you formally handle their financial affairs.

This would allow you to deal with, for example, the bank and care providers on their behalf.

What if someone’s income is only their State Pension and/or welfare benefits, and no power of attorney exists? Then, instead of applying to the Court of Protection to become a deputy, apply to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to become an appointee.

This means you can receive their income and pay bills on their behalf. You can also do the same for local authority benefits, such as housing or Council Tax benefit – in other words, apply to the local authority to become an appointee.

It’s a good idea to think about mental capacity now and work out what you and the person you’re caring for might need to do in the future.

Preparing for the future

A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you give one or more person the power to make decisions and manage:

  • your money and property, and/or
  • your health and welfare.
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These are given slightly different names in each country within the UK.

In England and Wales, it’s called a lasting power of attorney; in Scotland it’s a continuing power of attorney; and in Northern Ireland, an enduring power of attorney.

Before setting up a permanent power of attorney you need to know what’s involved – the different types, how much it costs and how long it will take.

The person you care for might have already set up a permanent power of attorney. Or they may have set up an enduring power of attorney that was available in England and Wales before October 2007, which might still be used but would need to be registered with the Court of Protection beforehand.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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