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Time to get financial affairs in order

Here’s a summary of how you and the person you care for can work together to get their financial affairs in order in preparation for end of life. It explores what funding sources are out there to support the person you care for, as well as you as their carer.

Getting financial affairs in order can be very helpful to the person you care for as it gives them the opportunity to take control of something when their life has been turned upside down. It will also help you as their carer and other family members to deal with their financial affairs after their death during a very difficult and emotional time. 

“Getting financial affairs in order” will mean different things to different people but generally speaking it will involve you helping the person you care for to do the following:

  1. Put all important papers and copies of legal documents in one place. Help the person you care for set up a file and put everything in a desk or drawer, or make a list of all the information and location of papers in a notebook. If the person you care for keeps their original documents in a safety deposit box then make sure they keep a copy of the file at home. Remind them to regularly check the file and keep it up to date.  
  2. Make sure you or another trusted family member or friend knows where important papers are kept. The person you care for may prefer to tell their solicitor.
  3. A lot of important financial information, including bank accounts, may only be accessed online. Therefore it is important to encourage the person you care for to think about planning for their digital legacy. The British Psychological Society has developed this useful video during the Covid pandemic giving advice on how to share personal digital information.​

It might be especially important to gain quick access to their money for anything from special treatments to family visits.

Although informal arrangements can be made with you, your family, or friends to deal with the person you care for’s financial institutions on their behalf, they might also want to think about a formal arrangement of Lasting Power of Attorney if they expect there to be a long period where someone else needs to act on their behalf. But remember they must have mental capacity to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs gives the individual appointed as an ‘attorney’ the authority to make certain financial decisions on that person’s behalf such as setting up accounts. This ensures that bills or care fees are paid without the person having to worry about them.

If things have been left until the person you care for lacks mental capacity to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney then you or another appropriate person can apply to the court to be appointed as a Court Appointed Deputy. This can be costly and the court might not appoint the person that the person you care for would have appointed had they had the choice to do so. So it’s best to get things sorted in good time.