Power of Attorney

Plan in case you lose mental capacity

One person in the UK develops dementia every three minutes. Yet relatives can't just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care. Unless you've a Power of Attorney, loved ones would need to apply through court, which can be long and costly. So get it sorted – this guide shows you how.

While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can't assume responsibility and don't accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it. This guide has been written with the kind help of the Alzheimer's Society and Age UK.

What is Lasting Power of Attorney?

Thinking and talking about what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable. Yet it's important to consider how much worse the situation would be if you had a stroke, serious accident or dementia (for example, Alzheimer's) without sorting it first.

If someone has difficulties that mean they can't make decisions anymore, they will need help managing their finances. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where someone – while they still have mental capacity – nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs if they later lost capacity. The key point to remember...

Don't think you suddenly give up control. You can choose whether it can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity.

Your representative (known as the 'attorney') should only ever make a choice for you if you're unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you fall into a coma, your attorney would start looking after your affairs. But if you wake from the coma, you should be able to make your own decisions again.

It's worth noting LPAs replaced the previous Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) system. EPAs set up before 1 October 2007 will still be valid, whether or not they have been registered, though they must be registered when the person loses capacity. For more, see the Government's EPA info.

Why set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you lose mental capacity, unless you've already filled in the Power of Attorney forms, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become 'deputy', a long and expensive process.

Instead, you can nominate a trusted friend or relative before you lose capacity, by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You can appoint one or more representatives to act for you, and can determine how they work together to make decisions on your behalf.

You may be thinking "this doesn't affect us, we're perfectly well". This is a common misunderstanding. The key thing to remember is...

You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have mental capacity. Once you've lost capacity, it's too late.

The key is to act early. This story from Forumite Norma Desmond explains why:

My mum is deputy (via the Court of Protection) to my dad, who has advanced dementia. It's a very long, drawn out and quite intrusive process.

It's also expensive. Mum will have to pay hefty yearly fees too. I just wish we'd managed to get Power of Attorney instead, when Dad was more capable. He got ill very fast and we couldn't implement it.

How much does a Power of Attorney cost?

There's a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney (in England and Wales – it's £85 in Scotland, £151 in Northern Ireland). If you earn less than £12,000/year though, you can provide evidence to pay a reduced fee of £41. Those on certain benefits (this link downloads a PDF list of the qualifying benefits) are exempt from fees.

It's £82 for the property and finance LPA.

Above and beyond that, if you decide to use a solicitor you'll also have to pay legal fees, though it's possible to set up a Power of Attorney on your own. See how to make a Power of Attorney.

What to do next

The action to take depends on the situation. We use the word 'they' below for simplicity, but, of course, you can set up a Power of Attorney for yourself as well.

  • If they still have capacity. This is the best time to act. If the person still has capacity and would like to make arrangements in case they lose mental capacity, they can set up an LPA.

    Once the LPA is submitted, the Government says it can take up to 20 weeks to register. The power will take effect as soon as the LPA is registered, so the attorney will be able to start making decisions straightaway, unless they specify otherwise on the application. See more on this in how to make a Power of Attorney.

  • If they've lost capacity. If a spouse, relative or friend already has limited mental capacity, but didn't set up Power of Attorney in advance, it gets more difficult. You need to become a deputy of the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf. See how to become a deputy.

  • If they still have capacity but need help managing money. In some cases, a friend or relative may still be able to make decisions, but may need help with the practicalities. For example, some people struggle to make phone calls or get to the bank. There are a few options that can help – see helping someone manage their money

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

Mention a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and many will automatically think of a person's finances, but in England and Wales there are actually two types to consider: one for property and finance, and another for health and welfare. Because we're MoneySavingExpert.com, this guide concentrates on the finance and property one, although the processes are similar for both.

In a nutshell, the health and welfare document sees a nominated individual make decisions over day-to-day healthcare and medical treatments, as well as deal with any health and social care staff.

It's also worth noting these are two separate legal procedures that are independent of one another.

Just because you give the trusted person Power of Attorney over your health, that doesn't mean they will automatically gain control over your financial affairs and vice versa. If you require the same individual to have Power of Attorney over both aspects of your care, then you will have to fill in the two forms separately.

Another key difference is that the health and welfare LPA can only be used after the person loses capacity, not before. For more help on setting up a health and welfare LPA, see the Government's health and welfare LPA info. For those who want to decide any 'advance decisions' – for example, you don't want certain types of medical treatment in certain situations, if you lose capacity in future – you can make a living will.

In Scotland or Northern Ireland?

In Scotland, there are three Powers of Attorney: one for financial matters, called a continuing Power of Attorney; one for personal welfare, a welfare Power of Attorney; and a combined Power of Attorney that covers both continuing and welfare, which is the most common. For full details, see the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) and Alzheimer Scotland's Money and Legal Matters guides.

For Northern Ireland see NIdirect's Power of Attorney info.

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Watch Martin's video briefing on Power of Attorney

Here's Martin's 'Power of Attorney: crucial financial protection' video briefing on why it’s so important, how to get one and more. Click the dropdown below to read a transcript.

ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live – Tuesday 14 March 2023

Embedded YouTube Video
  • Read a transcript of what Martin said on the show…

    How Power of Attorney works and why it's important

    Audience member: "Hi, so my question is at what age should you nominate a Power of Attorney and how do I go about doing so?

    Martin Lewis: "How old are you?"

    Audience member: "25."

    Martin: "That's a good age. Simple as that. 25 would be good. Let me go to the next part of my big briefing, and I will explain to you. Here we go.

    "Look, I think in many ways, a Power of Attorney is more important than a will, because if you die, you die and the money is going to go on to other people and you won't use it anymore.

    "But if you lose your faculties, if you lose your ability to look after yourself mentally, then the question is what happens to your finances? And the truth is, let's say it's a dementia or an accident or a stroke - severe ones - don't assume your family can access your money, not even if it's the money needed to pay for your care.

    "It can be locked away without anyone being able to touch it. To get it they'll need to apply via the Court of Protection or equivalent. That's a hassle. It's long. It's costly. You might not get the right person appointed that you would have wanted to take over your faculties. [speaking to co-host Angelica Bell] I actually sent you a note someone sent me on Facebook on this because it's quite important.

    Angelica: "It's really important. It's from Bridget and she says, 'my father was suffering with dementia when my mother died. She did everything and he was lost. One day he didn't know his ATM pin, got flustered and the bank suspended his account. He was unable to do anything. We applied to get the Court of Protection and it's horrendously expensive and extremely slow. He died before we got anywhere so make sure a power of attorney is in place.'"

    The best way to get a Power of Attorney, if you can, is through a solicitor

    Martin: "So to answer your question, why not do it now and have it ready if you've got the assets and you need it. Now look, if there's other people who could look after you, if something happened to you, that might be a different scenario.

    "So how does the Power of Attorney work? Well, you nominate a friend or relative to take over your affairs if you lose your faculties, IF. It doesn't mean you're giving up control now.

    "I've had a Power of Attorney since my thirties. I have, thankfully, no foreseeability of losing my faculties. No one takes control of my finances, I'm in control of it, but I have a Power of Attorney to do that. To get when you apply via Gov.uk. It £82, slightly different prices in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    "The best way, if you can, is to get a solicitor to do it, but that will cost £200 to £500, so you have to make that decision. There's partial help from Which? - what that means is, you fill in a template online and then they get a specialist to check it for you rather than having it fully drafted by a solicitor.

    "I need to say, Power of Attorneys are not perfect. There are delays at the moment, but my big message it is better to have a Power of Attorney than not. I'm not promising it's a panacea, but it's better than nothing. Now, of course, I talk about financial power of attorneys, because this is what I do.

    "But there's also a separate health and welfare one, and exactly how it works varies across the UK, where you give somebody the ability to control your health and welfare decisions, if you lose your faculties too. And I would urge you to look at that one as well. It is important.

    "I'm going to go back over here to our tame solicitor. Melinda. Hello, Melinda."

    Melinda Giles, solicitor at Giles Wilson and The Law Society Wills Committee: "Hello, Martin."

    Martin: "Okay, look, the biggest single set of questions we've had about Power of Attorney revolves around what I'm about to ask you now.

    "What controls are in place to ensure the person acting with Power of Attorney is acting in their best interests? Cases of a sibling with a Power of Attorney helping themselves, not accountable to other family members. We've had other people asking what if someone abuses it and tries to take the money for themselves?

    "So what are the protections in the Power of Attorney system when someone's lost their faculties?"

    There are controls in place if someone is acting in bad faith, but it's not perfect

    Melinda: "So obviously a Power of Attorney document is an extremely powerful tool. You're giving someone the potential to manage all your finances, but the point is you're giving that power. So when you make the power, you should choose that the protective part, such as notifying somebody when they're going to use it.

    Martin: "So I have that. I have my Power of Attorney set up and then I have two totally separate, independent people who would be notified if they were going to use the Power of Attorney who would then have the responsibility to raise objections if they felt that I hadn't lost my faculties or it wasn't sensible to be done.

    Melinda: "Yes, exactly. I mean, the whole point is you must choose somebody that you fully trust or more than one person. You can put that in place. You can put guidance in place and restrictions on how they can use it as well.

    Martin: "But it's not perfect."

    Melinda: "It's not perfect and unfortunately, should that sad situation occur where the siblings are suspicious that their father is being financially abused by the person chosen - you go through the process of making a report to the Office of the Public Guardian, to the local authority for safeguarding, and then they check it out.

    Martin: "Thank you. Mary emailed, 'I'm the appointed person for my brother who's blind and has special needs. I've recently been told I should really have a Power of Attorney, but the government website makes it appear that my brother must complete the application which he is unable to do. So how do I proceed?'"

    Melinda: "It does depend upon the level of his special needs and the level of his understanding. If he can be supported and does understand that he's making a Power of Attorney, who he's choosing and the extent of those powers, then he can make one. It doesn't mean that he knows how to manage his money.

    "But the blind aspect, there are special provisions such as reading over the document, witnessing somebody signing at his direction. But if there isn't understanding the required level, then it's a Court of Protection order.

    Martin: "Kevin. Have I got Kevin in here? Where's Kevin? You have a quick question on this one."

    It's a good safeguard to have more than one person as your power of attorney

    Audience member Kevin: "Yeah. Is it better to have one person as a Power of Attorney or multiple people? And if it's multiple people, how are potential disputes resolved?

    Melinda: "If you have more than one person, then you can appoint them so that they have to make all decisions together, which could be problematic as you've discussed - and also, if one of them dies, then the whole arrangement fails because you can't have it proceeding with one surviving attorney.

    "But you can have jointly and severally so that either one of them can actually deal with anything at one point, and the surviving one can continue. So that's a good thing."

    Martin: "It's a good safeguard having two if you possibly can.

    "Very quickly, some people have Enduring Power of Attorneys that have been replaced and they're asking, should they now get a Lasting Power of Attorney? Is it worth changing it if everything's right?"

    Melinda: "If you're still happy with your attorneys, continue with the enduring power.

    Once you become Power of Attorney, make sure you register with the banks as soon as possible

    Martin: "Right then I have another page I want to bring up on this. So this is about once your Power of Attorney is active - someone's lost their faculties and you have become their attorney, you're taking over for them.

    "Now, the first thing you should do is register your Power of Attorney with the banks and services straight away. Don't wait until the moment you actually need to use it because it takes time to register and then you'll have to wait to be able to do anything.

    "If you're going into a branch, book an appointment, because it takes time or you can ask them for their dedicated Power of Attorney phone lines that some have. Be careful with the copies of your Power of Attorney. Better to get a solicitor to certify them and then you can have copies which you can give to a bank rather than the original ones.

    "And worth noting, if it's a Power of Attorney registered after January 2016, then you can get a free online code from Gov.uk, which some banks will accept as evidence of a Power of Attorney.

    "Now, I've done some research very recently on how good banks are. If you've got a Power of Attorney, they're getting much better at dealing with it.

    "I was actually really impressed by the survey results, 12,000 people we did. 60% plus said 'great' for TSB, Lloyds and Halifax. 50% plus said 'great' for First Direct, Santander, Nationwide and NatWest. And actually most of the others are pretty good. So if you're worried about how the big banks will respond, most of them are actually pretty good if you've got Power of Attorney."

How to make a Power of Attorney

It's vital the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) understands what the forms mean. Of course, there's a trust issue here. While we don't want you to be overly cautious, sadly, in some cases, family or friends may be after someone's money. Ensure they (or you) feel comfortable with the choice and consider involving the whole family.

Step 1: Decide whether to use a solicitor

The first decision is whether or not to use a solicitor. If you're fairly legally and financially literate, the DIY route will save you about £500 in legal fees.

The Government has made the process easier than it used to be, and there's a chance your local Citizens Advice centre may be able to help.

However, the LPA is a powerful legal document. You may wish to get a solicitor to help if you're unsure about the process, the family does not get on or there are complex assets, such as businesses or overseas property.

If so, use the Law Society's Find a Solicitor tool or, if appropriate, try Solicitors for the Elderly, a network of more than 1,600 solicitors specialising in issues affecting older people.

£74 Which? Power of Attorney code

A halfway house between the DIY route and paying £100s for a solicitor is Which? Wills*, where you fill in a questionnaire, the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is populated for you, and then crucially it's checked by a qualified paralegal.

The standard cost for the financial LPA is £99, but we've blagged the following deals. The offer is ongoing. To get the discount, follow the link and choose your area (it automatically adds the code).

  • England and Wales. A property and finance or health and welfare LPA costs £74 each (usually £99 each). Alternatively, you can get both LPAs for £148 (usually £198).

  • Scotland. Which? only charges one fee of £74 (usually £99) for the combined continuing & welfare Power of Attorney. 

  • Northern Ireland. You pay only one fee of £74 (usually £99) for an Enduring Power of Attorney.

You will still need to pay any application fees separately, for example, £82 to the Office of the Public Guardian for a Financial LPA in England and Wales. (If you want the health and welfare one too, you need to pay another £82.)

How it works

Once you've purchased the service, you fill in an online questionnaire which automatically populates the government application forms. You complete it in your own time – call 0117 456 6023 if you need support. 

Which? specialists will also check and review your application within two weeks. Once it's approved, you follow Which?'s guidelines to sign and send off the forms.

Step 2: Doing it yourself? Make your application via the online form

If you've chosen the DIY route to make your Power of Attorney, follow the steps to apply online if you're in England or Wales. You'll still need to print out the forms and sign them after you fill them in online. Alternatively, you can download the forms and fill them in.

The person making the Power of Attorney and their chosen representative/s must sign the forms. If you get stuck filling them out, call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300.

The Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it's registered, unless you specify that the representative is restricted to making decisions only after the person loses capacity.

Finally, a 'certificate provider' signs the form to verify the person understands what the Power of Attorney means.

Who can do this

In England and Wales, a certificate provider can be someone the person making the LPA has known for two years. Or it can be someone who has a professional skill or knowledge about their situation, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor. Family members cannot be certificate providers. This definition includes:

  • Spouse, partner or civil partners (or people living together as such)
  • Children, grandchildren (including step-children)
  • Parents, grandparents (including step-parents)
  • Brothers, sisters (including half-brothers and half-sisters)
  • Aunts, uncles
  • Nieces, nephews
  • Someone related by marriage (such as a son-in-law or daughter-in-law)

A full list of who can and cannot be a certificate provider can be found on Gov.uk.

In Scotland or Northern Ireland?

In Scotland, you can download the forms from the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). For help, call 01324 678 398.

In Scotland only a solicitor who is registered to practise law in Scotland or a doctor can complete a 'certificate of capacity' to ensure that you understand what you are doing.

In Northern Ireland, you can download the forms from the Department of Justice. And here you don't need a certificate provider at all. There's more on how the process works in NIdirect's Power of Attorney info.

Double-check names and dates of birth are correct – small mistakes like this mean many applications are rejected.

There's further advice on how to fill in the forms on Gov.uk. Again, before signing, it is worth thinking about what Power of Attorney means; there's good further help and guidance at Age UK, the Alzheimer's Society and Mind.

Step 3: Register the Power of Attorney

The next step is posting the application to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to register it. Full steps to registering can be found on Gov.uk.

You can register the LPA either before or after someone loses capacity (provided they signed the forms while well). Registering early allows time to correct errors and means it's ready to use if urgently needed.

Once the Power of Attorney's registered, the nominated representative will be able to make choices for the person (known as the 'donor'). The representative can only make decisions the donor's unable to make at the time that particular decision needs to be made.

The application costs £82 to register (in England and Wales – £85 in Scotland, £151 in Northern Ireland), though if you earn less than £12,000/year, you can provide evidence to have a reduced fee of £41. It's £82 for each of the finance and health LPAs, so if you get both, that's £164. Those on certain benefits are exempt from fees.

The OPG also has discretion to waive fees in cases of financial hardship. If the fees would cause you real hardship, call its helpline on 0300 456 0300 to ask for the forms.

Quick questions

  • How long does registration take?

    Once you register the forms, in most cases the OPG just rubber-stamps the agreement, though it looks further into a small proportion of cases. The OPG aims to complete registrations within 20 weeks.

    People then have three weeks to object if they think the person making the LPA was pressurised or lacked capacity when they filled in the forms. The Court of Protection decides if the objection is justified.

    If the person who is making the Power of Attorney objects, the process stops completely. The only way to register the LPA would be to apply to the Court of Protection to establish they did not have the capacity to object.

  • When is the Power of Attorney activated?

    The Power of Attorney is activated as soon as it's registered, so the attorney will be able to make decisions on behalf of the donor straightaway, unless otherwise specified in the application.

  • What obligations do representatives have?

    Representatives have a duty to act in the donor's best interests and only make choices the Power of Attorney's terms allow them to make. If you are concerned a representative is abusing their role, report a concern.

If they've already lost capacity...

If someone's unable to look after their affairs but did not set up Power of Attorney in advance, carers need to apply to the Court of Protection. The court will appoint a deputy to make choices about the person's finances, usually a family member or close friend.

There are two types of deputy: a deputy for property and financial affairs, and a deputy for personal welfare. The court decides whether a person who may have lost capacity is able to make decisions for themselves and if the friend/relative is the appropriate deputy.

The Scottish system works slightly differently. You need to apply for 'guardianship' at the local Sheriff Court – full details at the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

How to find a solicitor

It costs £371 to register as a deputy and legal fees can be £1,000 or more (if you choose to use a solicitor). If the court decides the case needs a hearing, you'll need to pay £494 on top of that. 

Deputies also have to pay an initial charge of £100 and ongoing supervision fees, which depend on the supervision level. These fees are £320 a year, unless you require minimal supervision, then it's £35. Read the Government's full guide to the deputy system.

Those on low incomes or on certain benefits can get the fees reduced or waived. See the Government's full list of fees.

It can be a long and costly process. Consider using a solicitor with specialist expertise. Try the Law Society's Find a Solicitor tool or, if appropriate, try Solicitors for the Elderly, a network of more than 1,600 solicitors specialising in issues affecting older people. Ask if it's a fixed fee.

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How to help someone manage their money

In some cases a friend or relative may still be able to make decisions, but need day-to-day help with filling in forms or calling banks.

There are a few options that can help:

  • Consider a third-party mandate

    Together, you could consider a third-party mandate. This lets a bank give someone access to another's account. The account holder specifies what the other person can and can't do with the account, so they must still be able to decide what to do with their money. The application procedure varies between banks. Call and ask how to apply.

  • Become an appointee

    In certain circumstances, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can appoint a friend or relative or a representative of an organisation (like a solicitor or member of the council) to receive someone else's benefits and to use that money to pay expenses such as household bills, food, or accommodation. Apply via the DWP.

    This usually happens when the individual has lost capacity, or when they have capacity but an exceptional, severe physical disability makes it hard for them to collect benefits.

  • Lasting Power of Attorney

    A Lasting Power of Attorney covering issues of property and finance allows the donor to specify whether it can be used before the loss of capacity, or only when they lack capacity. So if someone, for example an elderly relative, follows the steps above and specifies this, you will be able to deal with their affairs while they still have mental capacity.

  • Pay bills by direct debit

    Consider switching to paying bills by direct debit. These automatic payments can help people simplify their finances, helping to budget and ensure bills get paid.

    They should (possibly with your help) keep checking bank statements, making sure there's enough cash in their account, or the bank may charge them.

    You even get a discount from many companies for paying this way. A warning though: while direct debits for gas and electricity bills, home phone and broadband can save you money, home and car insurers charge interest for doing so.

  • If they're in debt, seek non-profit debt help

    If someone you know is in severe debt trouble, encourage them to seek help from a non-profit debt-counselling agency immediately.

    For a full list of these agencies
    , see our Debt help guide.

Did you register a Power of Attorney between 2013 and 2017? You may be owed a refund

If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you're owed a refund of up to £54. (While the deadline to apply online has passed, it's still possible to apply by email, phone or post.)

Back in 2018, the Ministry of Justice announced that people who paid to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 were owed money back, after fees were set too high.

Refunds are owed because the full application fee for registering a Power of Attorney remained at £110 between 2013 and 2017, even though the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian had dropped. The full fee was reduced to £82 in April 2017.

As the fee is simply supposed to cover operating costs, the Government is now repaying the difference between what applicants paid and what they should have paid, plus interest.

  • How much can you reclaim?

    This depends on when you paid for the Power of Attorney, and whether you paid the full registration fee or the half-price fee:

    Refund for each Power of Attorney

    When you paid the fee Refund if you paid the full fee  Refund if you paid the half-price fee (1)
    Apr 2013 - Sep 2013 £54 £27
    Oct 2013 - Mar 2014 £34 £17
    Apr 2014 - Mar 2015 £37 £18.50
    Apr 2015 - Mar 2016 £38 £19
    Apr 2016 - Mar 2017 £45 £22.50

    (1) Available to those who had an income of less than £12,000/yr or were on certain benefits.

    If you registered for both types of Power of Attorney – both health and welfare, and property and financial affairs – you can claim for both, meaning a refund of up to £108.

    Some people on certain means-tested benefits will not have paid to register a Power of Attorney and so will not be eligible for the refund.

  • How to claim

    You can make a claim for a fee paid to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017. You can claim whether you were the donor (the person who made the Power of Attorney) or the attorney (the person appointed by the donor), though the refund will be paid to the donor. You can claim even if the Power of Attorney's been used. See details on Gov.uk.

    • You can call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300.
    • Apply by email to poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk
    • By post to POA Refunds Team, Lower Ground Floor, Office of the Public Guardian, PO Box 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH.

    To apply, you don't need the Power of Attorney document itself, but you will need:

    • The donor's name, address and date of birth.
    • Their UK bank account number and sort code.
    • The name of one of the attorneys on the Power of Attorney.

    Here are the other key need-to-knows:

    • You only need to make one claim for each donor – even if you've made multiple Powers of Attorney.
    • If your claim is refused and you want to appeal the decision, you can call the refunds helpline.
    • If the donor doesn't have a UK bank account or you're a court-appointed deputy, you'll have to apply by phone.
    • You can also claim for an Enduring Power of Attorney if you registered it in the relevant period. The Lasting Power of Attorney replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney on 1 October 2007, but it's possible someone could have drafted the latter before the cut-off date and registered it during the refund period - and so would be eligible.

    If the donor has died, you can still claim. You'll need to send a copy of the donor's death certificate and will, or a grant of representation such as a grant of probate or letter of administration, along with your contact details.

More help and info

If you're struggling with any of the issues raised here, try visiting a Citizens Advice centre. If someone's suffering from dementia, MoneySavers say the Alzheimer's Society's help is invaluable. You should also talk to your GP and (if applicable) social services. Other great sources of info include Age UK and Mind.

The following guides may also be relevant:

  • Make a will. While you're setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney it's a good time to ensure you've an up-to-date will. Solicitor-drafted wills can be cheap or even free to make or amend. Find info on all the options in Cheap and Free Wills.
  • Do a 10-minute benefits check. Do check what benefits you're entitled to. A quick Benefits Check will show if you qualify for extra help.
  • 50 MoneySaving tips for the over-50s. Whether your half-century is on the horizon or long gone, the older you are, the more your cash needs to look after you. To help, we've 50+ over-50s' MoneySaving tips guide. It covers everything from freebies and discounts to how to convert a pension into an annuity.
  • Stop scams. Scam letters often target vulnerable older people, usually hoaxing people into thinking they need to send cheques to secure lottery wins or to get prize holidays. If you're worried about this, charity Think Jessica has more advice on its site.

    There are loads more tips to beat junk calls and post in the Stop cold callers guide.
  • Death happens - plan for it. Death causes financial tragedies as well as grief. Hopefully you live happily to 120, but there are ways to lessen the impact when it happens. Our Death happens – plan for it checklist should help, including how to make a financial checklist for family and how to arrange who'd care for children and pets.
  • FCA mental capacity guidelines. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has guidelines on how banks must deal with people who have mental capacity problems when they apply for credit. While the guidance is aimed at lenders rather than consumers, it may help you negotiate with banks.

    The FCA tells lenders to explain credit agreements clearly to customers with limited mental capacity and give them enough time to weigh up information. Banks must carefully assess their ability to repay and refer them to specialist teams. See the FCA's full guidance.

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