Court of Protection – deputyship applications
Has your family member or friend lost mental capacity? Worried about a loved one’s ability to manage their affairs?
There are many reasons why a person in your life may no longer be able to manage their own financial affairs or make informed decisions about their personal welfare. This is known as loss of mental capacity. Illnesses can be a common factor, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and dementia.
In order to take control of your loved one or family member’s affairs you may need to apply to become a Deputy if there is not a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. A Deputy is responsible for the vulnerable person’s decisions about issues like property and finance, and occasionally healthcare. Deputyship is usually given to a close family member or friend or to a professional and must be applied for through the Court of Protection.
Our Partners [Premier Solicitors]are a Lexcel Accredited law firm. This is a nationally recognised quality mark for law firms. They are committed to providing appropriate solutions and excellent customer service at low fixed costs.
They have an Office of the Public Guardian / Court of Protection appointed “Panel Deputy”, one of only 68 Solicitors in England & Wales appointed by the OPG / CoP, because of their specialist skills in looking after the affairs of mentally incapacitated persons, and also have a specialist Court of Protection team who deal with a wide range of Court of Protection matters including any complex applications and disputed appointments. Whatever the circumstances, they are there to help.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a specialist Court who makes decisions on applications which involve people who lack mental capacity who are especially vulnerable and are unable to make decisions themselves, such as appointing a Deputy. The Court of Protection will always make decisions in the best interests of the individual.
Deputyship – who needs one?
When a friend or loved one has lost their ability to manage their own financial affairs (often referred to as the loss of mental capacity), the Court of Protection appoints someone to do this on their behalf. This person is known as a Deputy and is given the legal authority to manage the day to day financial affairs of the person who has lost mental capacity.
It is important to remember that someone may be able to make decisions about everyday issues like what to eat or what to watch on television, but can lack the mental capacity to make decisions on more complex issues, like management of their finances.
Who can apply to be a deputy?
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to act as a Deputy. Usually a relative will be the most suitable person to apply, but it is the Court of Protection who has the final say in who can act.
In some cases it may not be suitable for a relative to act and the Court will appoint an approved Deputy (a “Panel Deputy”) to act.
We understand that managing a loved one’s affairs can be a daunting responsibility. If you feel that you cannot undertake this task, you may choose to appoint a solicitor to step in as Deputy and act in their professional capacity.
Our Partners [Premier Solicitors]not only has a dedicated and experienced Court of Protection Team, but is also home to one of only 68 Court approved Panel Deputies. You can be assured that they are the gold standard for managing someone’s affairs and ensue that any decision will be in the incapacitated persons’ best interests.
What does the Deputy do?
A Deputy is responsible for taking on the responsibilities of another person and it is important that a Deputy considers this carefully before making an application.
Our Partners [Premier Solicitors]would recommend that at least two persons should apply to become Deputy to help ease the burden of responsibility.
A Deputy must comply with the Court Order and should always act in the best interests of the incapacitated person.
The Deputy is responsible for the finances and bills of the person they are acting for.
The Deputy will usually have to submit an annual account to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Are there different types of Deputyship?
Yes, there are 2 types of Deputyship Orders that the Court of Protection can make:
Property and Financial Affairs – these are the most common of Deputyship Order and allow a Deputy to manage a person’s property and finances. This includes gaining access to bank accounts, shares and property.
Health and Welfare – The Court of Protection will usually only grant this Order in certain situations such as to decide a specific matter.
How much does it cost to apply to become a Deputy?
A Deputyship application starts from [£950] + VAT in line with the Court of Protection scale of fixed costs.
There are some disbursements, primarily a £400 court fee, but these will be clearly set out for you prior to the start of the application process.
The fees arebilled at the end of the application process and the Court allows payment to be made out of the funds of the incapacitated person as the Order is made on their behalf. Therefore you will not be expected to pay any upfront costs other than the disbursements as mentioned above.
Who are the OPG?
The OPGor Office of the Public Guardian are the supervising body for Deputies, providing support to Deputies and safeguarding vulnerable adults. They ensure that the Deputies carry out the duties correctly and are able to assist Deputies with any queries they may have.
Statutory Wills and Statutory Gifts
A Deputy may apply to the Court of Protection to make a Will or a make a gift on behalf of the incapacitated person. This is known as a Statutory Will and Statutory Gift.
An individual’s Will may be out of date or you may be worried that someone may benefit when it would be unfair for them to do so.
If you believe any of the above may relate to you or a loved one, do not hesitate to get in contact for specialist advice.