Asking someone to manage your finances

There may come a time when you are not able to manage all 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 or manage 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 are not sure what might be best in your situation. Call them for free on 0808 808 00 00.

When can someone help?

Due to the effects of the cancer or its treatment, it may become more difficult for you to get out of the house. If this happens, it might be hard to do things like go to the bank or manage things like state benefits. Even though you can make your own financial decisions, it may be helpful to have someone else manage the practical things for you.

There may also come a time when making financial decisions becomes difficult. Or you might become unable to tell people about your decisions.

If this happens, you can arrange for someone else to make the decisions for you. This is done using a Power of Attorney.

Whichever option you choose, you should ask someone you can trust completely. You should check that they are happy to do it. If you’re not sure about what might be best for your individual situation, our financial guides can help. You can call them for free on 0808 808 00 00.

Banking and benefits

Setting up a joint bank account

You can arrange for someone else to be able to take out money and make payments for you. You can do this by setting up a joint bank account.

  • You can change an account you have already so that it is held jointly with someone else.
  • You and the other person will both be responsible for any overdraft on the account.
  • They would automatically inherit any money in the joint account if you died. They would also take full responsibility for the overdraft if the account was overdrawn when you died.

Arranging for someone to manage your bank account

You can arrange for your bank to let someone else take out money, write cheques and make other transactions in your name. The bank account will still be yours. It does not become a joint account. This arrangement is called a third-party mandate.

  • Most banks will ask you to fill out a form to apply for a third-party mandate. They do not always approve mandates.
  • The mandate should stop working immediately if you lose your mental capacity.
  • The bank will not know about any change in your condition. This means the person you nominate in the third-party mandate must tell them as soon as possible.

Arranging for someone to collect your state benefits

You can organise for someone you know and trust to collect your state benefits for you.

  • If your benefits are paid through a Post Office card account, you can do this by asking at your local Post Office.
  • If you receive benefits another way, speak to the office that deals with your payments. This might be Jobcentre Plus (in England, Wales or Scotland) or your local Jobs and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland.

Arranging for someone to manage your state benefits

You can arrange for someone you know and trust to manage your state benefits claims for you. This person is called an appointee.

  • Your appointee will be able to deal with the benefits office for you.
  • They will also be responsible for making sure your details are correct.
  • If you have been paid too much in benefits because your details were not correct, your appointee will be responsible for dealing with this.

For more information about the role and responsibilities of an appointee, visit GOV.UK.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written document that gives someone else authority to act on your behalf and manage your financial affairs. This person you appoint is known as your attorney. The legal power can be temporary or permanent. In England, Wales and Scotland, it is also possible to make a Power of Attorney for healthcare decisions.

Here are some things to know about Power of Attorney:

  • Most people appoint their husband, wife, civil partner or partner as an attorney.
  • Some people appoint another family member or a friend.
  • You can also appoint a professional, such as an accountant or lawyer.
  • You must completely trust the person.
  • The person must agree to be an attorney.

If you make any type of Power of Attorney, you may want to get help from a solicitor.

When can I set up a Power of Attorney?

You can only set up a Power of Attorney while you are able to make your own decisions. This means you can:

  • understand the decision you are making
  • understand what may happen as a result of the decision
  • remember and process any information that is relevant to making the decision
  • make the decision
  • communicate the decision to your doctor or others caring for you.

Who takes over if there is no arrangement?

If you lose the capacity to make your own decisions and no arrangement is in place, someone else can apply to the Court of Protection to act for you. This could be a partner, relative, close friend or professional. Depending on where you live, they may be called a deputy, receiver, guardian or controller.

The person appointed will apply to the Court of Protection for similar powers and duties as an attorney. They will look after your property and financial arrangements 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.

A temporary Power of Attorney

You may want to give someone the power to manage your property and finances for a set time. This could be 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 finances
  • a specific power to deal with just one aspect, such as managing your bank account or selling a property.

You don’t have to officially register an Ordinary Power of Attorney. But it does have to be written in a certain way. This means you’ll need help from a solicitor. This type of power stops when the set period ends, or earlier if you cancel it.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney also comes to an end if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. If you think this could happen, you need to consider a permanent Power of Attorney instead.

A permanent Power of Attorney

You can give someone the power to take over your property and financial affairs permanently. This is called:

This kind of Power of Attorney gives someone you trust written permission to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Here are some things to know about setting up a permanent Power of Attorney:

  • You must set it up before you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
  • It 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 it is registered, it will still apply even if you lose mental capacity.

Talk to a solicitor about what you want your Power of Attorney to cover and when you would like it to come into effect.

My friend set up Power of Attorney should she become unable to manage her affairs. With everything in place, we were able to concentrate on her care.


Decisions about your health and care

As part of planning ahead, it’s important to start thinking about how you would like to be cared for. This is in case your health changes and you’re unable to tell other people what you want to happen.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can make a Power of Attorney for decisions about your health. There is no Power of Attorney that covers health and welfare in Northern Ireland, but you can make an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (Advance Directive).

Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (Advance Directive)

An Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (Advance Directive) is a set of instructions from you to your medical team. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, this is often shortened to Advance Decision or Advance Directive. In Scotland, it is called an Advance Directive. All these terms refer to the same document, which is also often called a ‘living will’.

If you have both an Advance Directive and a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, the one you made most recently has legal force. In Scotland, an Advance Directive is not legally binding, but health professionals should still follow them when treating you.

You should give a copy of your Advance Directive to the person you have chosen to have Power of Attorney. Before you make an Advance Directive, you should talk with your healthcare professionals and family, so they understand your wishes.

We have more information about planning ahead.

Back to Planning and managing your finances

Assessing your finances

Cancer can lead to extra expenses. By assessing your situation, you can plan ahead to meet your needs.


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


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

Sorting out your affairs

Cancer has many financial effects. You may have several different issues on your mind – find out where to seek advice.

Inheritance tax

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