If you need help to pay bills and manage your money, there are a number of options. We have summarised them below, but there is more information on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. The website also has links to many of the the relevant forms.
Third party mandates
You can sign a third party mandate which authorises your bank or building society to accept instructions from another person you trust. You can decide what you want that person to be able to do and it may include viewing and making payments from your bank account. You should speak to your bank about setting this up.
You may decide to set up a joint account with a trusted friend of family member so that they can access and help manage your money.
Managing Benefits Payments
If you receive benefits and these are paid into a post office account, you can nominate someone to have access to your account as well.
If you want someone to help with all aspects of managing your benefits, not just collection payments, you can ask the Department of Work & Pensions to make that person your Appointee.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people as your ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA.
There are 2 types of LPA. You can choose to make one type or both:
- Health and welfare: This gives your attorney power to make decisions about your medical treatment or care. It can only be used when you’re unable to make a decision.
- Property and financial affairs: This gives your attorney power to make decisions about your money and property. It can be used as soon as it is registered with your permission.
Each takes several weeks to be finalised.
You can find more information here:https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/overview
Ordinary (or General) Power of Attorney
This is a legal arrangement when you nominate someone to make financial decisions, and manage your finances (such as accessing your bank account, paying bills) on your behalf. It is usually short term and you can cancel it at any time. An Ordinary Power of Attorney will become invalid if you lose the ability (or mental capacity) to make decisions about your money. Ordinary Power of Attorney is straight forward to set up, but some banks may not accept the authorisation, so it is worth checking with them first.
You can buy Ordinary Power of Attorney forms or you can ask a solicitor to set one up.
Some people may lose the ability to make decisions about their money through illness or disability. This is known as losing the ‘mental capacity’ to make a decision. If they have not arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney and need help to manage their money, you (usually a family member) can make a formal application to the Court of Protection to act as their Deputy. This can take several months and the Court will need evidence that the person has lost the mental capacity to make the relevant decisions. You may want to seek further advice from a solicitor.
There are a number of organisations that can provide debt advice and some are listed below. It is very easy for debts to spiral out of control and, if you are unwell, some creditors will be willing to write debts off or to freeze interest and charges.