Short-term options for health, welfare and financial decisions

He’s some Government guidance on how other people can make certain decisions for you or do certain things on your behalf.

You may have questions about how to make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) during the coronavirus outbreak. Read our guidance on making an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak. LPAs take around 8 weeks to register. This includes a 4 week waiting period required by law. You can still make an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak. There are also other ways people can make certain decisions for you or do certain things on your behalf that are quicker to get in place. These may be useful while you’re waiting to make an LPA or if you’re self-isolating and need someone to carry out bank transactions for you.

You can only make an LPA or any of the things below while you have mental capacity to make decisions. None of the options below are managed by us at the Office of the Public Guardian. We’ve included links to show where you can go for more information.

Write down your wishes

Write down your wishes and feelings about your future health and welfare or your property and financial affairs. Talk to your close friends and family about your wishes, and let them know where the document is kept. This is not legally binding. However, it lets those nearest to you know what you want. Anyone needing to make decisions on your behalf can then be made aware of your wishes and take them into account.

Decisions about your property and finances

If you are shielding or self-isolating, there are ways you can allow someone else to manage your property and financial affairs. A ‘third party mandate’ allows you to authorise someone else to carry out bank transactions for you. Speak to your bank or building society for more details. You could also make a general power of attorney to authorise someone to manage your financial affairs or do certain things on your behalf. It can only be used while you have the mental capacity to tell the person what you want them to do on your behalf. Contact your local Citizens Advice or a solicitor for more details.

Decisions about your health and welfare

There are several ways you can let people know your wishes about your future health, welfare and medical treatment, in case you lose capacity.

Make an advance decision (‘living will’)

An advance decision is a decision you can make now to refuse a specific type of treatment at some time in the future.

It lets your family, carers and health professionals know your wishes about refusing treatment if you’re unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself.

As long as it meets certain requirements, an advance decision is a legally binding document.

Find out more about advance decisions on the NHS website.

Make an advance statement

An advance statement is a statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care.

The aim is to provide a guide to anyone who might have to make decisions in your best interest if you have lost the capacity to make decisions or to communicate them.

An advance statement is not legally binding.

Find out more about advance statements on the NHS website.

Make an advance care plan

You can make an advance care plan with your healthcare team. It records your treatment and care wishes.

An advance care plan is not legally binding, however it lets the people involved in your care know what’s important to you.

Talk to your healthcare team if you want to make an advance care plan.

If you lose mental capacity

If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA, the law (Mental Capacity Act 2005) says that the people looking after you must still:

  • make decisions that are in your best interests
  • try to find out your past and present wishes, views, beliefs and values
  • take into account the views of anyone else who is interested in your welfare, for example your family and close friends

If someone, such as a family member or close friend, needs specific authority to make decisions for you, they can apply to the Court of Protection to become your ‘deputy’. It normally takes several months for the court to grant a deputy court order. Find out more about deputyships.

Your local council

Your local council may be able to give you more immediate support or advice. Find your local council.