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