Banks and building societies understand that it is sometimes necessary for a customer’s account to be handled by another person.

If you are given the authority to handle another person’s account you normally have the same power to manage the account as the account holder, depending on the account’s terms and conditions, security procedures and any requirements specified by the account holder when the arrangement was drawn up.

It is important for the account holder to think about how any specific requirements or arrangements may affect the running of their account.

Banks and building societies will always need to check specific documents before they can let you manage another person’s account. They will need:

  • proof of your name and address;
  • evidence of your authority to act for the accountholder; and
  • proof of the account holder’s name and address (if the bank or building society has not already had this).

One way of banking on behalf of someone who has mental capacity is by having what is called an ordinary power of attorney. This enables you to make financial decisions on behalf of the account holder (known as the donor). However, an ordinary power of attorney stops being legal authority if the donor loses mental capacity.

There is a standard form of words to grant an ordinary power of attorney. For more information, contact a solicitor or an experienced adviser, such as a Citizens Advice Bureau.

A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney (LPA) enables a person to appoint another person (the attorney) or people to make decisions about their finances and property if they lose mental capacity and, in some cases, while the donor still has mental capacity.

An LPA must be made by the donor. They can choose to give you, the attorney, authority immediately or only when the donor loses the ability to make decisions. The donor can place restrictions on how you can manage the account, and can also include guidance for you in the LPA. You will need to make sure that any restrictions, conditions or guidance do not prevent you from being able to manage the account. Before you can use your authority, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

For more information about making an LPA, contact the OPG on 0300 456 0300, speak to a solicitor or an experienced adviser or see the websites at www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm and https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney.