Money matters: Dealing with someone else's money and benefits
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 money or benefits if you have their written permission or a proper legal authority.
- Before you deal with your relative’s finances, organisations will want to see ‘identification and verification’ (ID&V) for you.
- Your relative can sign a ‘third party authority’ so you can deal with their bank account.
- If your relative needs help claiming or collecting benefits you could become their ‘Appointee’.
- Your relative can make a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ so you can deal with their finances. This carries on if they become mentally incapable.
- Your relative can make a ‘General Power of Attorney’ so you can deal with their finances. This would end if they become mentally incapable.
- Your relative might lack the mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. In this case you can apply to the Court of Protection to become their ‘Deputy’.
- If your relative becomes mentally incapable their bank might agree to pay urgent bills from their account.
- Your relative might be in debt or unable to pay all their bills.
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 January 2018. Next review January 2021.
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