Dealing with someone else's finances
A person who is unwell may sometimes need someone else to help with their financial affairs. This may be because they are in hospital, cannot cope with their bills or paperwork, or are unable to control their spending.
There are a number of different ways that you, as their carer, could help them in relation to their finances.
- You can only deal with someone else’s financial affairs if you have their written permission or legal authority.
- If you are paying bills for your relative, there are some that are more important than others. You should always make sure priority payments are made (such as rent, mortgage, council tax, gas and electricity) before paying any non-priority payments (such as credit cards or unsecured loans).
- You can only speak to organisations on behalf of your relative if you have authority.
- A ‘third party mandate’ or signed letter of authority gives you permission to operate your relatives’ bank account for them.
- If your relative needs help claiming or collecting benefits you could become their ‘appointee’.
- A ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ would allow you to make important decisions about your relatives’ finances.
- If your relative lacks the capacity to give you Lasting Power of Attorney, you can apply to the Court of Protection to become their ‘Deputy’.
We know that money and mental health problems often go hand in hand. That’s why Rethink Mental Illness, as part of Mental Health UK, have set up a new website. It will help you understand, manage and improve your mental and financial health. You can find a wide range of information to help you manage your relative's money. Just visit www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org to find out more.
Last reviewed in February 2015. Next review January 2018.
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