Asking someone to manage your finances for you

There may come a time when you aren’t able to manage all of your financial affairs yourself. You may want to arrange for someone close to you to manage them for you. There are different ways you could do this:

  • Set up a joint bank account – this means that the other person can make payments and take out money.
  • Set up a third-party mandate – this is where another person can make financial transactions in your name.
  • Arrange for someone you know and trust to collect your state benefits, if you receive them.
  • Give someone Power of Attorney – this is giving one or more people the legal power to manage your affairs. This can be temporary or long-term. The types and details of long-term Power of Attorney vary across the different nations of the UK.

Our financial guides can help you if you’re not sure what might be best in your situation. Call them for free on 0808 808 00 00.

Sorting out your affairs

At the moment, you might be making your own decisions about your finances. But there may come a time when it becomes difficult for you to manage all your affairs, or when you become unable to make or communicate decisions.

You may be able to arrange for someone you trust to make decisions about your financial affairs if you become unable to. There are different ways you can do this. It could include doing some of the things we explain on this page. If you’re not sure about what might be best for your individual situation, our financial guides can help. Call them on 0808 808 00 00.

Setting up a joint bank account

You could set up a joint bank account, or change an existing account so it’s held jointly with someone else. This person would then be able to take out money and make payments. They would also become jointly responsible for any overdraft on the account, and they would become solely responsible for the overdraft if you died.

Setting up a third-party mandate

A third-party mandate is an arrangement where your bank accepts instructions about your account from someone else, such as a partner or carer. The bank account is still yours, but that person will be able to take out money, write cheques and make other transactions in your name. Most banks will ask you to fill out a form to apply for a third-party mandate. Not all mandates are approved by the bank.

The mandate should stop working immediately if you lose your mental capacity. As the bank will not know about any change in your condition, it’s important for the person you nominate in the third-party mandate to tell them as soon as possible.


Giving someone Power of Attorney

You can give one or more other people the legal power to manage your affairs. They are then known as your attorney(s) and legally have Power of Attorney. This can be a temporary or long-term arrangement.

Most people appoint their husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner as an attorney, or another family member or a friend. You can also appoint a professional, such as an accountant or lawyer. It’s essential that you completely trust the person you appoint.

Mental capacity

To create a Power of Attorney, you must have mental capacity. This means that you are able to:

  • understand information relevant to the decision
  • retain that information
  • use or weigh-up that information as part of the process of making the decision
  • communicate your decision (by talking, using sign language or any other means).

You are assumed to have mental capacity unless it can be proved that you don’t.

If you make any type of Power of Attorney, think about getting help from a solicitor. You can find a solicitor by contacting one of the organisations listed on our database.

Giving someone temporary Power of Attorney

You may want to give someone the power to manage your property and financial affairs for a set time, for example while you’re staying in a care home or away on a long holiday. You can do this using an Ordinary Power of Attorney.

This can either be:

  • a general power, where your attorney has power over all of your property and financial affairs
  • a specific power to deal with just one aspect of your affairs, such as running your bank account or selling a property.

Depending on the situation, it may be easier to set up a third-party mandate for a bank account, or appoint someone you know and trust to collect your state benefits.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney doesn’t have to be registered with any official authority. But it does have to be written in a certain way, so you’ll need a solicitor’s help. It stops when the set period ends, or earlier if you cancel the power.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney also comes to an end if you lose your mental capacity. So it’s not the right power to grant if you think this could happen to you.

Giving someone long-term Power of Attorney

To give someone power to take over your affairs permanently, you need to use a long-term Power of Attorney.

Once a long-term Power of Attorney has been made (granted), it will need to be registered before it can start. Registering a long-term Power of Attorney may take some time. You should start the process as early as possible. It’s important to fill in the registration forms carefully to reduce the risk of delays.

Once a long-term Power of Attorney is registered, it remains effective even if you lose mental capacity (unlike Ordinary Power of Attorney).

Differences across the UK

The types and details of long-term Powers of Attorney vary across the UK. We have more information about Powers of Attorney in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Who takes over if there is no arrangement?

You can only grant a Power of Attorney if you still have mental capacity. If you lose mental capacity and no arrangement is in place, someone else can apply to the authorities to act for you. This person could be a partner, relative, close friend or professional.

Depending on which UK nation you live in, the person appointed may be called a deputy, receiver, guardian or controller. The details of what these mean vary across the different nations of the UK.

A deputy, receiver, guardian or controller has similar powers and duties as an attorney to manage your property and financial affairs for you.

If there is no one who can act for you, the authorities can appoint one of their own officials to manage your affairs.

For more information about Powers of Attorney or appointing a deputy, guardian or controller, contact the relevant office in your nation:

England and Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

‘My mother created an Enduring Power of Attorney when she updated her will. This meant that we were able to pay her bills and manage her finances.’ Steve

Steve


Decisions about your health and care

In every UK nation, there are documents you can use to decide about your care in advance. This includes an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (Advance Directive). This is a legal document that sets out the circumstances in which you would:

  • not want certain treatments
  • want a certain treatment to be stopped.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can make a Power of Attorney for decisions about your health. There is no health and welfare Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland.

If you have both an Advance Decision and a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, the one you made most recently has legal force. It is advisable to give a copy of your Advance Decision to your attorney.

Our sections on planning ahead have more information about making and recording decisions about how you should be cared for. It also has information about making a will and funeral planning. There are three different sections: one for England and Wales, one for Scotland and one for Northern Ireland.

Back to Planning your finances

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Maximise your income

Reviewing your savings, investments and income will help you plan your budget.

Covering your costs

If you are struggling to cover your essential costs, call us on 0808 808 00 00. You may be eligible for financial help.

Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is paid if your estate is worth more than £325,000 after your death. This includes property, money and possessions.