Managing Someone Else's Affairs
Planning Ahead on Financial Matters
It is a good idea to plan ahead and consider how savings may be accessed in the future if your own or a family member’s physical needs or mental capacity changes.
Keeping large sums of cash at home is not advisable.
If the person is unable to physically get to their bank or building society to carry out transactions, they can authorise someone else to act on their behalf. Ask what is needed for a third party mandate which would allow a named person access to the account.
If it is a joint account and only one signature is needed on cheques, the remaining account holder can continue to use the account. Other options include setting up Internet or telephone banking.
There may also be situations where arrangements need to be put in place to give others authority to act or make decisions for someone who lacks the capacity to do so for him/herself.
The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 introduced a system for safeguarding the welfare and managing the finances and property of adults aged 16 and over who lack the capacity to make some or all decisions for themselves. It relates to someone being incapable of acting on decisions; or making decisions; or communicating decisions; or understanding decisions; or retaining the memory of decisions – in relation to any particular matter due to mental disorder or inability to communicate because of physical disability.
The Act allows other people to make decisions on their behalf and is of benefit to people with dementia, people with a learning disability, people with an acquired brain injury or severe and chronic mental illness, and people with a severe sensory impairment.
Under the Act, safeguarding can be supported in a number of ways including:
Power of attorney - This is a means by which individuals, whilst they have capacity, can grant someone they trust powers to act as their continuing financial and/or welfare attorney. The Power of Attorney should however only be used in relation to welfare decisions once the grantor has lost capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Access to Funds scheme – This is a way of accessing the adult’s bank or building society accounts in order to meet their living costs.
For information and advice about matters covered by the Act, particularly financial matters, contact the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).
Access Care Team