Managing someone else's affairs

As a carer there may come a time when you may need to help manage the affairs on behalf of the person you are looking after, or start considering how to plan to do this in the future. This could mean a number of things including:

  • looking after their bank accounts, savings, investments or other financial affairs
  • buying and selling property on their behalf
  • claiming and spending welfare benefits on their behalf
  • deciding where they live
  • making decisions about their day-to-day personal care or healthcare.

This can be a sensitive issue, and will need to be carefully thought out. Advice is available on money management

There are different ways of managing someone’s affairs. Which option is appropriate depends on whether the person you are looking after can currently make their own decisions (which is called having mental capacity) or whether they are unable to make their own decisions (which is called lacking mental capacity).

Remember someone may lack capacity due to a health condition but it does not necessarily mean they lack the capacity to make a specific decision. Someone can lack capacity to make some decisions (for example, to decide on complex financial issues such as selling their home) but still have the capacity to make other decisions (for example, to decide what clothing or food items to buy at the shop). 

Principals of The Mental Capacity Act 2005

  • a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision
  • an act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests
  • before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person's rights and freedom of action

Further advice on the different ways of managing someone else's affairs is available from Carer's UK.