Deputies for the elderly
According to statistics one in three people aged over 65 today will die with some form of dementia. For many, that dementia will be so severe that they will lose the capacity to look after their own legal and financial affairs.
If that happens, and there is either an Enduring or a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then the Attorney can take over easily and can continue to access all accounts and manage the finances. If dementia strikes one of a married couple, the other may not be able to continue to manage the family finances even if all accounts are in joint names. A husband or wife has no authority to access any solely-owned accounts, or financial information such as pension details without being appointed Attorney or Deputy.
Where there is no Attorney, then someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputy.
For many, the main consideration will be when to enter residential care, and how to pay for this. When the average costs of residential care are around £24,000 and for nursing care £36,000, any savings and investments can be quickly depleted. For owner-occupiers, it may be necessary to sell the house and use the proceeds to pay for care.
As the Court Order appointing the Deputy governs the extent of their authority without going back to Court, it is usually advisable that the Deputy asks for power to sell property at the initial application, to avoid unnecessary additional fees.
As many financial expenses can be set up as direct debits the Deputy may have a considerable amount of work once appointed, but this can then reduce over time once the arrangements are in place.
The Deputy must complete annual accounts detailing income and expenditure and compile a report on significant decisions taken on behalf of the Protected Person. There will be yearly supervision and insurance costs.
As part of the duties the Deputy should ensure that all state benefits are claimed, including Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit. For some, the Deputy will also have to prepare an income tax return, and settle any outstanding tax liabilities.
How we can help
We appreciate that the paperwork can be extremely complicated. We can prepare all the Court forms for you, and arrange the required doctor’s certificate. We can ensure that you ask for the Court of Protection to grant you the proper authority initially so that you avoid additional costs and time delays.
Where possible, and appropriate, the Court of Protection is happy to appoint family members or friends as Deputies. However it is often the case that the closest family member is themselves elderly, or lives at a considerable distance. We can also arrange for a partner here to be appointed as Deputy and deal with all the financial matters as they arise.