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Managing someone else's affairs

If you care for someone else there may come a time when you have to manage their affairs.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) sets up the legal framework and processes to protect people who may not have capacity to make some decisions for themselves for any reason - whether this is because of an illness such as dementia, a learning disability or mental health problems.  The Mental Capacity Act divides decision making into two distinct types - (a) property and affairs and (b) personal welfare.

The MCA also enables anyone aged 18 or over (with the capacity to do so) to choose in advance who they would like to authorise to make decisions on their behalf, in case they become incapable of making decisions for themselves at some time in the future. The individual (the Donor) can appoint one or more persons as his/her Attorney(s) under a "Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)", to make decisions on behalf  of the Donor. The Attorneys must act in the Donor's best interest and consider the Donor's needs and wishes as far as possible. 

Click here to view an easy read guide to the Mental Capacity Act (2005).

Property and Affairs

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) - The Property and Affairs LPA is the formal legal document in which the Donor appoints his/her Attorney(s), and authorises them to manage his/her financial affairs and property.  This can include paying bills, managing a bank account or even selling a property.

The LPA must be completed while the Donor has mental capacity, but it can continue to be valid and be used after the Donor has lost mental capacity to manage his/her finances.  

However, the LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The Donor may choose to register it while s/he still has capacity. If this has not already been done then the Attorney(s) will have to register it when they believe the Donor no longer has capacity. Further information can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports and promotes decision making for those who lack capacity or would like to plan for their future and keep the register of LPAs.  Their website provides advice and guidance on how to make an LPA , and register it when this becomes necessary. There is usually a cost for registering a LPA.    You can download or request hard-copy LPA forms or complete an online LPA application on the Gov.uk website.  

You should be aware that a LPA is a powerful and important legal document and you may wish to seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience of preparing them. There are likely to be costs involved for this work.

Please note: Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in October 2007. An existing EPA remains valid as long as it was signed before that date and while the Donor was still able to make decisions for themselves. If the Donor starts to lose capacity, then the EPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Deputy for Property and Affairs - Once an individual lacks the mental capacity to manage his/her own affairs, he/she will not be able to make a valid LPA or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). In such cases, if the Court of Protection is satisfied that a person lacks the mental capacity to manage his/her own finances and requires someone to assist them with these matters, then it may appoint an individual as the person's Deputy for Property and Affairs. The Deputy's role is to look after that person's finances and act in the best interests of the person for whom they are a Deputy. It would be unusual for a Deputy to be appointed in a case where a valid Property and Affairs LPA has already been registered but in certain circumstances it is possible. If the person lacking capacity does not have any property of value or money other than his/her state benefits then it may not be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection.  Further information can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian

Benefits Appointee - If a benefit claimant lacks capacity to claim/manage/receive his or her benefits, then the Department for Works and Pensions may allow another person to be appointed to act on behalf of the benefit claimant. The Appointee must use the benefits so received for the welfare of the individual concerned.

Personal Welfare

A Personal Welfare LPA authorises the Attorney to make decisions on  the Donor's behalf about their health and personal welfare, such as giving consent to medical treatment or deciding where they should live. Further details on this are available from the Office of the Public Guardian

Useful contacts

Age UK Blackburn with Darwen
Address: 4 King Street, Blackburn
Phone: 01254 266620
Fax: 01254 266621
Web: www.ageukbwd.org.uk
Email: enquiries@ageukbwd.org.uk

 

If you are still unsure the Adult Social Care Customer Liaison Team may be able to advise you. You can contact them from 8.45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on (01254) 587547.

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