Acting on behalf of someone else
Lasting Power of Attorney
You can decide who you would like to make decisions on your behalf for if you were to become ill or have an accident now. You can choose more than one person and whether they can make individual decisions or whether they need to make them together, this is jointly or severally. They must have capacity to make their own decision and you need to trust them to make the best decision for you. You can also nominate a replacement if the original person/s were not able to act or continue to act for you.
Applications for a lasting power of attorney are much cheaper than a deputyship application once you have already lost capacity.
There are 2 areas and they require 2 separate applications.
Health and Welfare gives the power for someone to choose what is best for your care and medical treatment
Property and Finance gives them the power to manage your home, this may be terminating a tenancy if you move into care of selling your property to pay for care, they will manage all aspects of your income and expenditure. They can not have been declared bankrupt or be subject to a debt relief order.
To make an application visit https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/choose for the forms and more information. You can complete the forms yourself or with assistance from a family member or friend. Solicitors can help too but they will charge for this service. You must register the power of attorney for it to be a legal document.
Once someone lacks capacity, they can no longer choose an Attorney and will need an application for deputyship. This is the formal process to ensure a suitable person can make decisions in your best interest. Similar to power of attorney there are 2 areas. A personal welfare deputy will make decisions about medical treatment and care and Property and financial affairs deputy will manage somebodies home (tenancy or mortgage for example), bills, benefits and bank accounts. You can apply for one or both.
There is guidance available for when you need to make a personal welfare application https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/court-of-protection-personal-welfare-application-cop-gn4
The Court of Protection (CoP) process the application for both and are then over seen by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG). Deputies provide reports to the OPG on an annual basis for oversight into the decisions made.
To make an application for deputyship and further information visit https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy. When making the application for deputyship you can make it asking to be appointed yourself or you can ask the court to appoint a Panel Deputy from a pool of solicitors, the court will also if appropriate ask the local authority to become deputy in less complex cases.
If someone lacks capacity and only has welfare benefits paid from Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) you can apply to become an appointee.
Appointeeship will only give you the right to manage the persons benefits in their best interests. Most banks, pension providers or utility companies will require power of attorney or a deputyship court order for you to act on their behalf.
Appointeeship is an agreement between you and DWP.
For more advice on how to become someone’s appointee please visit https://www.gov.uk/become-appointee-for-someone-claiming-benefits
DWP do not require you to be an attorney or deputy to become an appointee, but attorney’s and deputies still need to apply for appointeeship to receive DWP benefits.