Make decisions on behalf of someone

1. 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 don’t have mental capacity now.

When someone can choose you

A person must have mental capacity when they choose you for short-term or long-term help with decisions.

Short-term help

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.

Long-term help

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 don’t have mental capacity
  • health and welfare - starting when they don’t 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. You can’t apply to the court if they do - ask their attorney or deputy for help instead.

One-off decisions

Ask the Court of Protection to make:

If the decision is about medical treatment, you must consider any living will (advance decision) that the person has made.

Long-term help

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’