DO YOU NEED SOMEONE TO MANAGE YOUR AFFAIRS?
OR MAY YOU NEED TO DO THIS FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS IN ADVANCE
Citizens Advice have been lobbying for simplification of forms and a reduction of fees
Reasons for managing someone else’s affairs may be that:
- They are ill or disabled
- They are out of the country for a while
- They may become unable to make decisions for themselves because of mental illness or other reasons
Managing someone else’s affairs can mean a number of things including:
- Looking after bank accounts, savings, investments or other financial affairs
- Buying and selling property on their behalf
- Claiming and spending welfare benefits on their behalf
- Deciding where they live
- Making decisions about their day-to-day personal care and health care
Bank and Building Society accounts
If you just need someone to temporarily operate a bank account for you, just write to your bank. They will probably send you a ‘third party mandate‘ form to fill in and return. (The British Bankers Association have a guidance leaflet on their website www.bba.org.uk
Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits
If your money is paid into a post office card account and someone is willing to collect it for you on a regular basis, you need to contact your post office and arrange for that person to become your agent.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives the person appointed to act as your attorney legal power to act for you, the donor of that power.
When you make any power of attorney you must be able to understand what you are doing and be capable of making decisions for yourself. This is called having ‘mental capacity’(More guidance on mental capacity can be found at www.adviceguide.org.uk and www.mentalhealth.org.uk)
An Ordinary Power of Attorney
If you want someone to look after your financial affairs, e.g. because you have a physical illness or injury, or are going abroad for a long time, an ordinary power of attorney may be what you need. There is a set form of words which should be used and if you want to restrict the authority to cetain matters you will need to set this out clearly.
Lasting Power of Attorney
If you have been diagnosed with, or think you might develop an illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself at some time in the future, then you may want to consider making a lasting power of attorney. Illnesses might include dementia, mental health problems, brain injury, alcohol or drug misuse, side effects of medical treatment or other illnesses or disabilities.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney. They are:
- finance and property (this can be used before the donor has lost mental capacity)
- personal welfare (this cannot be used until the donor has lost mental capacity)
You can make either or both and, as with the ordinary power of attorney, both can be limited to certain aspects. Both need to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before they can be used and you will normally have to pay a fee for each registration, although some donors may not have to pay. The fee is currently £130 per registration, but, following representations from Citizens Advice and others, together with efficiency improvements achieved at the Office of the Public Guardian, steps have been taken to amend legislation to reduce the fee to £110 per registration from 1st October 2013. (This change will also apply to the registration fee for the older Enduring Powers of Attorney – see below)
Rules, application forms, guidance notes and details of fees can be found on the GOV.UK website www.gov.uk Following representations from Citizens Advice about the complexity of the forms, the Office of Public Guardian has developed an on-line application tool, which guides customers through the application process. It has inbuilt checks and does not ask for information to be repeated. The completed form can be printed off for signing and witnessing. This is now available at www.gov.uk/lasting-power-of-attorney But you can still print off the blank forms to complete or ask for them to be sent to you by post if you prefer.
An Enduring Power of Attorney to manage someone’s property or financial affairs may have been made before 1 October 2007. It can still be registered, or if it has already been registered it will still be valid.
If someone has already lost mental capacity and there is no power of attorney you can apply to the Court of Protection for a decision on a particular matter, or you can ask the court to appoint you as a deputy. A deputy is usually a family member or someone who knows the person well. The Office of Public Guardian will be responsible for supervising and supporting the deputy.