What is a Court of Protection Deputy?
A Court of Protection Deputy is someone authorised by the Court of Protection, through a deputyship order, to manage the affairs of someone that lacks mental capacity – often due to dementia, a learning difficulty or a brain injury.
There are two types of deputyship order:
- Property and financial affairs order – to manage a person’s finances
- Personal welfare order – to make decisions about a person’s care, welfare and medical treatment
Who can act as a Deputy?
If you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney and become unable to make decisions yourself, the Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy to act on your behalf.
Anyone aged over 18 can apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy for a friend or relative. The court will then decide if that person should be appointed. The court may also to decide to appoint two or more Deputies for the same person.
Acting as a Deputy carries a lot of responsibility – so you must be sure that the proposed Deputy has both the time and skills to make decisions for someone that lacks capacity.
Appointing a professional Deputy
Sometimes there is no-one suitable or available to act as the Deputy for someone lacking capacity. Family members may find the prospect overwhelming or daunting, or may not be able to agree on who should manage a relative’s finances. In these situations, appointing a professional Deputy can provide a solution.
Anthony Fairweather, a senior partner at Clarke Willmott, is regularly appointed by the court as a Deputy for children and adults who cannot manage their own financial affairs. He acts for a broad range of clients, of all ages, across the country.
How to become a Court of Protection Deputy
The process of applying to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy can be time consuming and confusing. We can support you through the application process or make the application for you.
There are a significant number of Court of Protection forms to be completed and submitted, along with a full list of all assets such as property, shares and premium bonds.
There are also various formalities that have to be followed. For example, when the application is made other family members and relatives have to be informed. In addition, during the process an insurance bond (“surety bond”) has to be taken out to protect the incapacitated person.
The duties of a Court of Protection Deputy
- Once you have been appointed as a Deputy there are a number of steps that need to be taken to ensure the day to day management of that person’s financial affairs are protected and run smoothly. We can assist by advising you on the steps you should take including:
- Applying for any available exemptions, allowances or benefits i.e. council tax relief
- Setting up a dedicated Deputy bank account
- Notifying financial institutions such as banks and building societies
- Applying for care funding for i.e. NHS Continuing Healthcare funding
- Completing a tax return
- Ensuring the Office of the Public Guardian return is completed and lodged
- Informing the Land Registry about the involvement of the Court of Protection
- Reviewing the insurance on the person’s property to see if it is still valid i.e. are there new conditions if the property is empty that need to be complied with?
Being able to call on an experienced Deputy who can give practical help and advice can provide invaluable peace of mind. As well as acting as a professional Deputy himself, senior partner Anthony Fairweather can advise family members who have taken on this important role.
How Clarke Willmott can help
- Court of Protection applications – we can advise you about the application process or apply to the court on your behalf.
- Acting as a professional Deputy – we can act as professional Deputy if a suitable friend or family member is not willing or able to fulfil the role.
- Support for Deputies – our experienced team can provide practical support and advice to help Court of Protection Deputies carry out their duties.
- Disputes – we can help resolve disputes between the Deputy and other family members about decisions concerning property, finance, welfare or medical treatment.
- Wills, Trusts, Probate and estates
- Health and social care law
- Lasting Power of Attorney
- Living Wills and Advance Decisions
- Factsheet: Who can make decisions for someone who lacks capacity
- Factsheet: Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy – making the right choice
- Elderly Care and Court of Protection blog – for news and articles
- Wealth, Health and Inheritance Briefing – view the latest edition and sign up for regular updates
Contact a Court of Protection solicitor
For advice about becoming a Court of Protection Deputy or appointing a professional Deputy, call our specialist lawyers now on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online.