Court of Protection deputy
A deputy manages the personal welfare or the property and affairs of another person who lacks the mental capacity to manage them themselves.
People lack mental capacity because, for example, they have:
- a serious brain injury or illness
- dementia or have had a stroke
- severe learning disabilities.
Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection, which makes an order setting out their powers. The most common appointment would be for a property and affairs deputy who would deal with paying bills, selling and purchasing property, organising a pension or withdrawing money from the person’s bank account.
An example of a property and affairs order would be where a person with dementia needed somebody to sell their house in order to pay nursing home charges.
The court can appoint one or more deputies for the same person.
A deputy is not usually required if the person lacking capacity has previously made a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
Is it too late to take out a lasting power of attorney?
People often come to see us because a family member or close friend is no longer able to make decisions about their welfare or financial affairs.
An LPA can only be made by a person before they lose mental capacity.
If you are concerned about your own future, it is better to make an LPA if you can, because you will then be able to make sure that arrangements for your care are made in accordance with your wishes.
Many people see us about making an LPA when they are in their 60s to make life simpler for their children later on and because it is less expensive and quicker to make an LPA than to apply for a deputyship order.
Generally speaking, a deputy has similar powers to an attorney and a court hearing is not normally required, provided there is no objection to the application.
Could I become a deputy?
As a deputy you are responsible for helping someone make decisions or making decisions on their behalf.
Anybody over the age of 18 can apply to be a deputy. You must declare any criminal convictions or bankruptcy arrangements to the court and these could lead to the application being refused. Spouses, partners and close relatives most often become deputies.
If no-one else is able or willing to take the role, then the local authority can do so or a professional deputy, such as a solicitor, can be appointed. A professional deputy will usually be appropriate where the person lacking capacity has a large estate.
The Court of Protection places obligations on the deputy to protect the person lacking capacity. These include obtaining a security bond, complying with supervision by the court and filing annual reports and accounts. The deputy’s reporting obligations will depend on the level of supervision.
As a deputy, you can claim expenses for things which allow you to carry out your duties as a deputy e.g. travel to visit the person you are a deputy for, phone calls and postage. You cannot claim for the time you spend carrying out your duties unless you are a professional deputy.
A deputyship order is usually ended when the person lacking capacity dies or recovers capacity. It can also be discharged by the Court of Protection if the deputy wishes to retire or resign.
Talk it though with one of our specialist solicitors
Our specialist lawyers will be pleased to assist if you would like deputyship advice.
We can help you prepare the application if you would like to become a deputy or in some circumstances one of our solicitors can become a professional deputy for the person concerned.
Please contact any of our offices or fill in our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch.