Managing someone else's finances

When you can manage someone else's finances

BSL Support

You must have legal authority to manage someone else's money.

To have legal authority:

  • You must have the permission from the person whose money you are managing
  • The person, of adult age must have the mental capacity to give their consent.

What is mental capacity?

Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision.

Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others. For example, they may be able to decide what to buy for dinner, but be unable to understand and arrange their home insurance. Alternatively, their ability to make decisions may change from day to day.

Needing more time to understand or communicate doesn’t mean you lack mental capacity. For example, having dementia doesn't necessarily mean that someone is unable to make any decisions for themselves. Where someone is having difficulty communicating a decision, an attempt should always be made to overcome those difficulties and help the person decide for themselves.

What happens if the person does not have mental capacity?

If the person does not have the mental capacity, you will need to get consent from:

  • The Department of Works and Pensions if you only need access to their benefits or
  • The Court of Protection if the person has other property and assets.

Mental Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 applies to anyone:

  • Aged over 16
  • In England and Wales
  • Who lacks the capacity to make decisions about their life.

It affects anyone who works with or for these people, including:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Carers
  • Health and social care professionals.

It covers all major decisions such as:

  • Finances
  • Social care
  • Medical treatment
  • Research and
  • Everyday arrangements.