A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone (the protected person) who has lost the mental capacity to do so themselves. The loss of mental capacity may arise from a number of causes such as brain injury at birth or following trauma or from age related senility.
The Deputy’s role is defined by the terms of the order from the Court of Protection and the Deputy will be required to make annual reports to the Office of the Public Guardian.
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.
Most appointments as Deputy are confined to managing the financial affairs of someone who has lost the mental capacity to do so themselves. In those circumstances the Deputy has control of the protected person’s income and assets and will manage these to ensure the protected person’s needs are met. In a few cases a ‘Welfare’ Deputy is appointed who can make decisions regarding the health and welfare of the protected person.
How we can help?
We can assist in advising individuals appointed as Deputies. Our team also includes experienced professional Deputies who can be appointed as Deputy when required. Our clients include those with more complicated needs arising from brain injury as well as the elderly. Our Deputies would only accept appointment as Deputy to manage the financial affairs of a protected person and would not accept appointment as a ‘Welfare’ Deputy.
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 complex issues where experience is vital if they are to be managed properly. 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.
Severe brain Injury
Sadly, the need for a Deputy sometimes arises because of a severe 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 may need to deal with a range of complex issues including:
- managing accommodation needs through the purchase and adaptation of a suitable home
- employing carers
- liaising with an appointed case manager to arrange therapy, education or employment
- managing an investment portfolio
- dealing with tax issues
- completing reports for the Office of the Public Guardian
- applications to the Court of Protection for Court orders
- dealing with any other legal or financial issues as they arise.
Personal Injury Trusts
Our Deputyship team can also assist in advising about and managing Personal Injury Trusts. These trusts can be useful for client’s who have full mental capacity as they can help ensure that damages arising from a personal injury award do not impact on entitlement to state benefits. They may also be useful where the recipient of the award would like support in the management of the funds to ensure their future needs are met.