Help someone informally with day-to-day money

Money Advice Service

If you want to help someone manage their money, for example if you see a family member or friend having difficulty with financial decisions, you might be able to help them out.

Allowing the person to stay in control

If someone you care about is struggling with their finances because of a medical condition, mobility problem or mental health issue, you probably want to do whatever you can to help.

But you can’t just barge in and take over – you need to remember that the law says you must assume that someone is able to decide for themselves unless there is evidence that they can’t.

No matter how worried you are, you can only ignore or overrule a person’s financial wishes if they lack ‘mental capacity’ – the ability to make their own decisions.

Are they unable to manage their money because of a temporary mental health problem?

If so, could big financial decisions be put off until they recover?

Whatever help you offer, make sure you understand what’s involved and that you’re able and happy to take on the work and responsibilities.

There are various ways of helping someone to go on making their own decisions about money and many ways that you can help.

Help with paperwork

If the person you’re helping finds it hard to understand written information, you can go through any important documents with them.

For example, information about bank accounts, benefits and tax.

Point out the important parts that they need to understand and explain unfamiliar terms and ideas. Some people find filling in forms daunting.

You can help by talking them through the questions on the form and writing in their answers, leaving the person just to add their signature.

Help with meetings

From time to time, the person might need to meet face to face with someone like a benefits adviser, bank, financial adviser or solicitor.

These meetings might be less stressful if you can go along too.

You can also help by:

  • Asking questions if you think something has been forgotten.
  • Making sure the person’s situation is clearly explained and understood.
  • Being on the alert for rogue firms that might take advantage of a vulnerable person.
  • Taking notes so that later on you can both review what was said before they make a decision.
  • Guiding decisions – making sure the person does not make a decision too quickly before all the issues have been carefully considered.
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Helping with day-to-day money

If you want to gently keep an eye on someone’s day-to-day spending, you could:

  • Help them to pay their bills on time
  • Suggest that you make shopping trips together
  • Offer to read through bills and statements when they arrive

If they need more support, you could offer to help manage their bank account through a third-party mandate, which officially names you as someone who can use the account – but you will need their permission.

If they need you to collect benefits on their behalf, they can give you permission to be a joint account holder or ‘permanent agent’ on their Post Office® card account, or to be an appointee so you can receive benefits on their behalf.

If the person needing help is going to be away for a while – for example, to go into hospital – you can be given temporary power of attorney, which says that you’re allowed to manage their affairs for that period of time (but only as long as they still have mental capacity).

You can read more about these ideas from the point of view of the person you’re helping in getting informal help to manage your money.

Giving more intensive help

If the person has good and bad days, it might be useful for you to become their attorney on a permanent basis.

Then you can easily step in as and when help is needed.

Read our guide on Setting up a power of attorney

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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