A lawyer in our Court of Protection team, looks at the issues involved in applying to be a deputy
If a person loses mental capacity and does not have a Power of Attorney in place, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
This would appoint someone as a deputy to manage the property and financial affairs of the person who has lost capacity. It could be a relative or a friend and the deputy will be able to make decisions on their behalf.
A deputy may be needed so that they can manage:
- bank accounts;
- payment of household bills;
- care fees; and
- maintenance and sale of property.
The process of applying to be a deputy
To begin with, a formal assessment of mental capacity will need to be obtained. This can be from a treating consultant, GP, social worker or other suitably qualified professional. It should provide an opinion on whether the person lacks capacity and will need to be sent to the Court of Protection when applying for deputyship.
The court has a specific set of forms and a process in place for applications. While it is formulaic, there is a certain order of steps that should be followed and deadlines by which some steps must be taken.
The person who needs help with managing their affairs should always be consulted about a deputyship application and their opinion obtained, so far as possible, about who should help them. It is a requirement of the court process that they, and others who are closely involved with them, be notified of what is happening.
The court will, at the end of the application process, then issue an order giving powers to the deputy and setting out any restrictions or requirements it thinks are appropriate.
The cost of an application to be appointed as deputy for someone will normally be met from the finances of the person requiring help once the appointment is made.
Duties and supervision of a deputy
There are extensive duties imposed on a deputy, primarily being to always act in the best interests of the person they are looking after and to apply the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in the decision-making process.
Also, the deputy must keep records and report each year to the Office of the Public Guardian (‘OPG’) whose role it is to supervise deputies.
How we can help with applying to be a deputy
If you need assistance in applying to be a deputy yourself or you are interested in a professional deputy being appointed, then please contact our Court of Protection team on 0333 888 0404 or send an email to us at [email protected]