When you can make decisions for someone
Someone can choose you to make and carry out certain decisions on their behalf.
They can ask you to do this:
- now - for example, while they’re on holiday
- in the future - for example, if they lose the mental capacity to make their own decisions
You can also apply to a court to help someone make decisions if they do not have mental capacity now.
This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
When someone can choose you
A person must have mental capacity when they choose you for short-term or long-term help with decisions.
You can be appointed to make decisions about someone’s money or property for a limited time - for example, while they’re on holiday.
They can appoint you with either:
- a lasting power of attorney for ‘property and financial affairs’ - they’ll say when it starts and ends
- an ‘ordinary power of attorney’ - you can only use this while they have mental capacity
To make an ordinary power of attorney, the person who appoints you needs to buy a document from a newsagent or use a solicitor.
You can be appointed with a lasting power of attorney to help someone make ongoing decisions about either or both:
- money and property - starting at any time, or when they do not have mental capacity
- health and welfare - starting when they do not have mental capacity
You can also help someone with ongoing decisions using an enduring power of attorney made before 1 October 2007.
When you apply to a court
Apply to a court to help someone without mental capacity with one-off or long-term decisions.
Check if someone already has an attorney or deputy to help them with decisions before you apply. If they do have an attorney or deputy, ask them for help instead.
Ask the Court of Protection to make:
- a one-off decision about an issue that’s not urgent
- an urgent or emergency decision about something that puts them at risk
If the decision is about medical treatment, you must consider any living will (advance decision) that the person has made.
Apply to the Court of Protection to help someone long-term with decisions about either or both:
- money and property - as a ‘property and financial affairs deputy’
- health and welfare - as a ‘personal welfare deputy’