8. Mental capacity to manage finances
If you have mental capacity but would like another person to manage your finances for you, you can nominate that person on the finance assessment form and the Council will deal with this person on your behalf, the Council will continue to keep you informed and consult with you where appropriate.
If you have capacity but would like another person to be able to sign legally binding documents on your behalf, you will need to appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney. The Council will deal with the appointed attorney on your behalf, the Council will continue to keep you informed of all decisions and consult with you where appropriate.
If you are legally appointed to act for someone the Council is arranging care and support for, who lacks mental capacity to manage their finances you must provide us with:
- Evidence of your legal authority to act as the financial agent for that person such as
- A registered Lasting Power of Attorney, or
- A registered Enduring Power of Attorney, or
- A deputyship Order from the Court of Protection66
You will need to provide any financial information required to carry out the financial assessment for the person needing care and support.
The Care Finance Officer will then:
- Send you any correspondence addressed to the person you represent.
- Require you to sign any financial documents or contracts on behalf of the person you represent.
- Require you to settle any invoices for care charges raised in the name of the person you represent.
If you act for a person who lacks mental capacity, you should ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)67 to appoint you to deal with the state benefits for that person (an ‘appointee for benefits’).
An ‘appointee for benefits’ has authority to deal with state benefits only for that person and may not have access to other financial information or assets records belonging to that person. Where state benefits are the only source of income, and there are no other financial assets (such as savings, investments, property) it will usually be possible for the financial assessment to be completed.
If the person who lacks capacity has other assets (such as a private home, savings, investments, and private income) a suitable representative will need to make an application to the Court of Protection to become Deputy so they can deal with the person’s finances and affairs.
The Deputy can be a family member, friend or solicitor. If no suitable representative can be identified, the Council will make the application to the Court of Protection to become Deputy or to have a panel Deputy appointed (usually a solicitor).
If you have applied to the Court of Protection, or you intend to apply, to become Deputy you should inform the Council and Department of Work and Pensions.
While your application is in process
The Court of Protection can take a long time to process the application for Deputyship; the usual time frame from when the application is sent to the Court of Protection is around 5 months. During this time if you are able to provide sufficient information about the persons finances the Council will carry out the financial assessment and the Council will give you information about any potential charges for the care and support.
If the Council can complete a financial assessment, we will send you invoices for the care and support charges but allow for payment to be delayed until you receive legal authority to access the necessary accounts.
If the Council cannot complete a financial assessment, we will defer the assessment until you have the legal authority to access the financial information and backdate any assessed charges to the date the person started receiving the care and support. The Council may work out an interim charge based on state benefits and send an invoice for that amount, once you have authority to access the person’s financial information the Council will complete the financial assessment and backdate the assessment to the date the person started receiving care and support making any required adjustment for payments made.
If the person you represent clearly has capital above the upper capital threshold that would not be disregarded the Council will consider the person to be a self-funder and will not provide financial assistance.
You can find information on becoming a financial representative on the GOV.UK website:
- Make decisions on behalf of someone
- The Mental capacity Act 2005
- Setting up and registering Lasting Power of Attorney
- Registering existing Enduring Power of Attorney
- Applying to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy
- Being appointed by the Department of Work and Pensions to manage state pension and benefits
You can also find information about care and support on the NHS website