When a family member or a friend have lost mental capacity, leaving you to manage their affairs, it can be a very stressful time, even with a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
But, if you are in the unfortunate circumstance where a Lasting Power of Attorney has not been put in place, you may need to go through the process of applying for a Deputyship, in order to make decisions in relation to the ‘Protected Party’s’ property and finances and/or health and welfare.
Applying for a Deputyship can be an extremely lengthy and stressful process, so we have answered some common questions below.
What is a Deputy and why is one required?
A Deputy can be one or more people who are authorised to make decisions on behalf of a person who no longer has the necessary mental capacity to make their own decisions. There are two types of Deputy:
- Property and financial affairs; including managing the Protected Party’s bank accounts, income, property and investments, paying bills and accommodation costs on their behalf, applying for benefits and purchasing and adapting property.
- Health and Welfare; to make decisions, including living arrangements and medical care.
Who can be a Deputy?
The person applying to be a Deputy must be over the age of 18, have mental capacity themselves and not have a history of fraud or bankruptcy.
This can be a family member or close friend, but it can also be a Professional such as a solicitor. A Professional is usually appointed when matters are complex, the estate is high value, the compensation award is large, or if a family member does not want the responsibility.
What is the procedure when applying for deputyship?
If you wish to apply to be appointed as a Deputy and have obtained the capacity assessment from a medical expert, you will then need to complete a number of application forms. These forms give the Court of Protection information on the Protected Party and help them decide whether a Deputy is required. The forms are complex and it is important to complete these correctly.
As part of the application process you must notify particular people of the application, such as close family members. This then gives these people the opportunity to object to the application – if they wish to do so.
Following no objections, the Court of Protection considers the application and if approved, they will appoint the Deputy. The appointment will be confirmed in an Order, which also sets out your responsibilities. This Order can then be sent to the relevant organisations and gives the Deputy authority to communicate with them.
This process can sometimes take around 4 months. This can cause problems where bills need to be paid as no one has the authority (yet) to deal with the finances of a ‘Protected Party’, until a Deputy has been appointed.
What are the costs when applying for a Deputyship?
Fees include an application fee of £371.00 and supervision fee must be paid to the Office of the Public Guardian on an annual basis. There is also a premium for a security bond. All fees are paid from the funds held by the ‘Protected Party’.
A Court of Protection specialist will be able to advise you accordingly, and could save you time and money.
Do I need a solicitor when applying for Deputyship?
It is also very easy to make a mistake during the process. By working closely with a specialist Court of Protection Solicitor, who understands the difficulties you might be facing, they will have the expertise to guide you smoothly through the whole process.
At Osborne Morris and Morgan, we can help you in all aspects when applying for a Deputyship. We can also support you in your role as Deputy, with tasks such as completing tax returns, preparing the annual Deputy Report, as well as liaising with the Local Authority.
We are here to help you
For more information about applying for a Deputyship, or to appoint one of our Court of Protection specialists, call us on 01525 378177 or contact us online.