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28 Dealing with Someone Else's Affairs

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1 Introduction

2. What is 'mental capacity'?

3. When can I deal with someone's financial affairs?

4. How can I help someone to collect or spend their benefits and pensions?

5. When can I have access to someone's bank accounts?

6. What must an attorney do?

7. What if there is no enduring power of attorney?

8. What must a 'receiver' do?

9. What if a person recovers their mental capacity?

10. How can I make sure a disabled relative is cared for after I die?

11. Can I deal with decisions about someone's healthcare?

12. What if the person becomes involved in court proceedings?

13. Protecting vulnerable people from abuse

People who need help with their affairs may be vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. The vast majority of people who care for vulnerable people are entirely trustworthy, but everyone should be alert to signs of abuse and take action to stop it.

What if I think someone is being abused, exploited or neglected? 
If you think anyone is acting inappropriately, unlawfully or not in the best interests of a vulnerable person, you should report it to the relevant authorities:

  • If you are concerned about the collection or use of social security benefits, contact the local Jobcentre Plus. If the benefits are for someone who is over 60, contact the Pension Service.
  • If you are concerned about the actions of an attorney or receiver, contact the Public Guardianship Office.
  • If you think someone has committed a crime against a vulnerable person, such as theft or physical or sexual assault, contact the police. You should also contact social services, who can help support the person while investigations go on.
  • If you think someone is not being properly looked after, for example if you think their carer is neglecting them, contact social services.
  • If you are concerned about the standard of care in a care home, contact the Commission for Social Care Inspection (in England) or the Care Standards Inspectorate (in Wales). See 'Further help' for details.

If you want to make a complaint about treatment or care provided by the NHS:

  • In England, contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). It can put you in touch with your local Independent Complaints Advisory Service if you need to make a formal complaint.
  • In Wales, contact your local Community Health Council (CHC), which can help you bring a complaint.

If you need help to pursue a complaint, contact an advice agency or a solicitor or one of the organisations in 'Further help'.

14. Further help

15. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Penny Letts, a policy consultant specialising in mental health and capacity issues.

Leaflet Version: November 2019

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