Planning for the future

Planning for the future

Making plans for the future can reduce anxiety about what happens when life changes. As a carer, you may need to put a plan in place for those you care for, as well as yourself.

Putting a plan in place

Putting a plan in place

Planning means you don’t have to make important decisions during stressful moments, especially if it becomes difficult to communicate those decisions.

Most plans focus on managing money, treatment options and how you wish to be cared for, where you might live, making sure life is straightforward for those you leave behind, and choosing your end of your life ceremony.

If you care for adult children, you will also probably be thinking about how to ensure they have good support when you’re not there anymore.

Caring for a relative with learning disabilities or mental ill health

Caring for a relative with learning disabilities or mental ill health

You will be concerned about how your loved one will manage when you are no longer there to support them. Common questions include:

  • How will they manage their money when I am no longer around?
  • What will happen to my son or daughter’s benefits if they inherit money?
  • How can I be sure they are not taken advantage of by someone who knows about an inheritance or other asset?
  • Will the County Council use the inheritance to pay towards the cost of care?
  • What will happen if there are no other family members who can help?
  • Will my son or daughter be able to stay in the family home?

The answers to these questions are not always simple. Sometimes a quick suggestion to point you in the right direction is all you need. For other issues, you will need professional legal advice about wills and trusts.

For advice from specialists in learning disability and mental health support, we have compiled some useful links at the bottom of this page.

Managing money for someone who can no longer manage it for themselves

Managing money for someone who can no longer manage it for themselves

There are different ways of managing your money, or the finances of the person you care for. The one you choose will probably depend on how complicated your financial situation is.

Joint banking or savings account

For many carers, the easiest way of managing money is through joint banking or savings accounts. 

Appointing a signatory

If the person you care for would rather keep their finances separate, when the time comes, they can arrange for a trusted person (such as an adult child or friend) to be a signatory on their bank account.  The signatory can make transactions and speak with the bank on behalf of the account holder. This usually involves visiting a branch of your bank or building society with the trusted person and satisfying various paperwork and capacity tests. 

If the account holder does not have the mental capacity to make decisions, the bank will not allow a signatory to be appointed. The bank can even freeze a joint account when one of the joint holders loses mental capacity.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A more formal arrangement (which lasts even if mental capacity is lost) is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs. This is where you identify people you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity to make your own decisions. 

It is important to note that someone cannot make a Power of Attorney if they have already lost mental capacity to understand the legal implications of it.  A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) does last after mental capacity has been lost if it was made when the person understood what they were doing.

The paperwork has been designed for self-completion and registering a power of attorney costs £82 - but this fee can be reduced or waived if certain financial criteria apply. There are two types of LPA; one for property and finance decisions and one for health and welfare decisions. There are examples on the government website of how to express your wishes when drawing up your power of attorney. It can be helpful to think about what may suit you before you see a professional. 

If you would like professional help to draw up your power of attorney, Co-op Legal Services and other legal services organisations offer this service,  as do will writers and solicitors. Costs vary, so make sure you shop around.

Becoming an appointee

If there is no Power of Attorney in place and the person you care for has lost mental capacity, you might want to become an appointee with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This allows you to communicate with the DWP about benefits and entitlements such as attendance allowance and the state pension. Appointees can receive and manage benefits on behalf of the person, where someone is severely disabled or mentally incapacitated. To find out more about becoming an appointee, contact the DWP.

Becoming a deputy

If there is no LPA and your loved one or friend does not have mental capacity (and needs more than appointeeship) to manage their affairs, you will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy.

End of life care plans

Planning for Your Future Care provides information and a handy place to record your thoughts and preferences about care and end of life. This helps your family know your wishes if you are no longer able to tell them. You can download the booklet or pick up a copy from your GP surgery.

If you are concerned about how to manage finances for the person you care for when you are no longer able to, organisations like the Money Carer Foundation offer a useful range of options. From a cash card (which can be loaded with a set amount at an interval to suit) to taking on appointeeship. You could also talk to a solicitor about setting up a trust.