Mental Incapacity - the need for a Deputy
What is a Deputy?
Deputy is the name given to a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the legal and financial affairs of a person who has lost the mental capacity to do so themselves. This loss of mental capacity is often caused by age related senility but can also arise from catastrophic brain injury.
A Deputy is required where no Attorney has been appointed by either an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney. Once appointed the Deputy must act at all times in the best interests of the Protected Person. The Deputy can be a family member, friend or professional.
What does a Deputy Do?
The Deputy has control of the legal and financial assets of the Protected Person’s financial affairs. The Deputy will manage these to meet the Protected Person’s income and expenditure needs. The Deputy’s role is defined by the terms of the order from the Court of Protection.
How we can help?
We can assist in advising individuals appointed as Deputies. Our team also includes experienced professional Deputies when required. Our clients include those with more complicated needs arising from brain injury as well as the elderly. The team includes both specialists in Deputy and Court of Protection matters and litigation experts.
Catastrophic Brain Injury
Sadly, sometimes the need for a Deputy arises because of a catastrophic brain injury, either at birth or through a later accident. The Protected Person may have been awarded damages following successful litigation arising from the injury. The appointment of a Deputy will usually be required before the litigation concludes, so that the Deputy can immediately start to use the funds for the benefit of the Protected Person.
The financial needs of those who have suffered a brain injury may be extremely complicated and their needs may continue for years. The level of injury can vary from mild learning difficulties to complete dependency and the sums involved can range from a few hundred thousand pounds to several million.
The Deputy is likely to play a significant role in the life of the brain injured person and may have to deal with a range of issues that may include:
• Employing carers
• Liaising with an appointed case manager to arrange therapy, education or employment
• Managing an investment portfolio
• Tax issues
• Completing reports for the Court of Protection
• Applications to the Court of Protection for Court orders
• Dealing with any other legal or financial issues as they arise.
Advantages of a Professional Deputy
A professional Deputy may be granted wide powers by the Court of Protection while the powers granted to a family member may be more limited. This may make things much simpler when dealing with the Protected Person’s affairs.
The involvement of a professional Deputy may also enable parents of a brain injured child to focus on their role as parents rather than taking on the duties of employer, financial adviser, accountant etc.