What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is the judicial body responsible for making decisions for those who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs (Protected Party).
Who can be a Deputy?
A Deputy can be an adult family member, a friend, or a professional person, such as a solicitor.
Solicitors are often appointed if there are no suitable family members or friends who could make the right decisions in the best interests of the person requiring help or if a person’s assets are large or complex.
What is the role of a Deputy?
There are two types of Deputy:
- Property and Financial Affairs Deputy – This will include taking over bank accounts, paying bills, managing investments and savings, benefit applications and more. With the Court’s permission, a Deputy may also sell and purchase property.
- Personal Welfare Deputy – making specific decisions in relation to such areas as medical treatment and how someone is looked after.
If appointed, you will receive a Court Order informing you of what you can do in your role. This Order then gives you authority to communicate with various organisations on behalf of the Protected Party.
When you become a Deputy, it is very important to keep a record of the decisions that you make, such as selling the house in order to pay for nursing fees.
You must send an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which details the types of decisions you’ve made on the individual’s behalf as well as the income received and expenditure.
What decisions can I make as a Deputy?
A Deputy can make any decisions on behalf of the person so long as they act in that person’s best interests. Although the Protected Party has been found to lack capacity, it is important to still involve them in any decision making as fully as possible. You must also consider what the Protected Party would have done had they retained capacity.
The Court of Protection will outline what decisions you can make, however some decisions will require additional authority from the Court of Protection. We can help to advise you on the decisions if you are unsure.
What is the difference between a Deputy and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Both are legal appointments of a person to deal with the affairs of a person who lacks mental capacity.
The differences between them lie in the set-up procedures.
An LPA is put in place with the appointment of an Attorney before a person loses mental capacity. An Attorney is chosen by the person making the LPA. If an LPA has not been put in place and a person loses capacity, an application is made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy. This may or may not be someone who the Protected Party would have chosen.