Deputies and Court of Protection
The question of appointing a Deputy only arises when someone has lost the mental capacity to deal with their own legal and financial matters. We know that this can be a very sensitive and distressing time. Our Deputy team are all extremely experienced advisers, and members of several specialist groups including the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Solicitors for the Elderly and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
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 called the Protected Person (P). 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. For more information about Attorneys, please see our information page. 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 is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a special court which only deals with applications made on behalf of, or about, those who have lost the mental capacity to make those decisions themselves. The Court appoints the Deputy, sets out the limit of his or her authority and decides on applications such as requests to buy or sell property, change the Deputy, undertake litigation or to make or amend a Will. It also has jurisdiction to make health and welfare decisions.
What is the Office of the Public Guardian?
The main role of the Office of the Public Guardian is to supervise the Deputy. The level of supervision is set by the Court, and ranges from a “light touch” for experienced Deputies, to a more hands-on approach where the Deputy may need more support. The Office of the Public Guardian also investigates any allegations of abuse by the Deputy, or an Attorney.
What does a Deputy Do?
Generally the Deputy has control of the legal and financial assets of the Protected Person and will manage these to meet his or her income and expenditure needs. The Deputy’s role is defined by the terms of the order from the Court of Protection. A professional Deputy may be granted wide powers whilst the authority of an inexperienced family member may be limited. A Deputy with limited powers must reapply to the Court of Protection for permission to make a decision which exceeds the authority given.
Once appointed the Deputy must provide a yearly report to the Court of Protection about all decisions made, and keep accurate financial accounts. Ongoing supervisions is provided by the Office of the Public Guardian.
How we can help?
The application to the Court can be confusing and extremely frustrating. It can also take several months. We can prepare all the paperwork and submit the application for you. We can also assist and advise once you have been appointed as Deputy. Where appropriate we can also arrange for a professional to act as Deputy. The Court of Protection may often require a professional Deputy when there are substantial assets to be managed.
The members of our team is experienced in acting as Deputies when required, and advising individuals appointed as Deputies. Our clients include the elderly and those with more complicated needs arising from brain injury. The team includes both specialists in Deputy and Court of Protection matters and litigation experts.