Paying for care: Acting on someone else's behalf


If you request help to pay for care and support, a financial assessment will need to be completed.

The Council will help with this.

A family member, friend or carer can also help you with the assessment if you wish.

If you have capacity to make decisions about your own financial affairs but you want someone else to make these decisions for you, you can ask someone to act on your behalf by appointing a financial representative.

Your chosen financial representative can only act on your behalf with your consent, which needs to be given in writing.

Supporting someone who lacks capacity

Capacity means the ability to use and understand information to make a decision, and communicate any decision made.

A person lacks capacity if their mind is impaired in some way, which means they're unable to make a decision at that time.

Examples of how a person's brain or mind may be impaired include:

  • mental health conditions - such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
  • dementia
  • severe learning disabilities
  • brain damage - for example, from a stroke or other brain injury

Someone with such an impairment is thought to be unable to make a decision if they cannot:

  • understand information about the decision
  • remember that information
  • use that information to make a decision
  • communicate their decision

Supporting someone who lacks capacity

If a person lacks capacity to make financial decisions, they must have an appointed financial representative in one of the following ways:

  • Registered Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
  • Registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Property and Affairs
  • Property and Affairs Deputyship Order through the Court of Protection OR
  • Any other person authorised to deal with the person's affairs, e.g. someone who has been made an appointee by the Department for Work and Pensions for the purpose of handling benefit claims

The Council will need to be provided with a certified copy of any corresponding legal document.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring Power of Attorneys (EPAs) were replaced with Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) in October 2007.

An EPA that is already in place grants another person the legal authority to deal with your property, money and financial affairs when you (the donor) no longer have capacity to do so yourself.

An EPA only takes effect once the donor loses capacity.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust (your attorney) the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lose the mental capacity to do so in the future, or if you no longer want to make decisions for yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

  • LPA for property and financial affairs
  • LPA for health and welfare

An LPA for property and financial affairs can allow your chosen attorney to act on your behalf when it comes to your financial assessment and paying for your care, as well as other financial decisions.

The LPA can be used while you still have mental capacity, if you want it to, or you can state that you only want it to come into force if you lose capacity.

You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney at any time, but you must have capacity to do so.

You can find more information about this at GOV.UK: Lasting Power of Attorney, or you can seek advice from a solicitor.

If you lose capacity and don't have a Power of Attorney

You might assume that a spouse, civil partner or close family member would automatically be able to deal with your money and make decisions for you if you lose the ability to make these decisions yourself.

This is not the case.

If you lose the capacity to make your own decisions and you don't have a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney, anyone who wishes to make an important decision on your behalf must apply to the Court of Protection.

They can apply for a one-off order from the court if they wish to make a single important decision for you, or they can apply to become your deputy.

A deputy is authorised by the Court of Protection to make certain decisions for you.  

A deputy is usually a family member or someone who knows you well.

They must make sure decisions are made in your best interests.

You can't choose your own deputy and the process of appointing one can be lengthy and costly.

You can find more information about this at GOV.UK: Become a Deputy, or you can get advice from a solicitor.

If you want to make sure a person you trust can make decisions for you if you can't make them yourself in the future, you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney while you can.

Becoming an appointee for someone claiming benefits

If you lose capacity to manage your affairs, a person can apply for the right to deal with your benefit claims for you.

You do not need a Power of Attorney, a deputyship or an order from the Court of Protection to become an appointee.

You can find more information about this at GOV.UK Become an appointee for someone claiming benefits.