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A day in the life of a Deputy: problems with banks

Once a deputy has been appointed by the Court of Protection, the deputyship order has to be lodged with the Patient’s personal bank and building society accounts.

Because the appointment of deputies has risen, there is more demand on the banks and building societies to deal with professional deputies.  But as banks and building societies are not always accustomed to dealing with deputies, difficulties can arise, particularly when a bank requires the deputy to attend a branch to verify their identity.  For a professional deputy – who might act for over 60 patients at any time – it is not practical or cost effective to attend a branch each time they are appointed.

Some banks have therefore set up special teams to deal with appointed attorneys and deputies, often with direct contact numbers to assist the smooth management of the deputyship. A standard form is usually required to be completed by the deputy and sent to the bank together with the deputyship order.

After the deputyship order has been lodged, it is standard practice for the banks to place a restriction on the patient’s personal accounts, so that no payments will be made and no cash can be withdrawn.  This can affect the payment of care home fees, utility bills or personal allowances. Arrangements therefore need to be made with the relevant banks to ensure that these essential payments are made.  Banks can also offer a basic account which can be opened in the deputy’s name, with a cash card issued for P to withdraw their personal allowance. The transactions of the basic account are monitored by the deputy and reported to the Office of the Public Guardian annually.

Last year the British Banking Association (BBA) introduced a new guidance framework to all banks and building societies to help them provide the right service for people who have to manage an account for someone else. Details of the framework can be found on BBA’s website.

As banks and building societies become more aware of the deputyship process, the management of an individual’s account will become more efficient.  Creating a mechanism where banks communicate with deputies by telephone or through the post will allow matters to progress smoothly and help to reduce costs and delays.

If you would like further information about appointing a Deputy please contact a member of our Court of Protection team.