Guardianship Unveiled: Court of Protection Deputyship explained

If someone loses the capacity to make their own decisions, a relative can apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. This gives the relative authority to manage the person’s finances on their behalf. We take a look at the process and explain a Court of Protection deputyship.

The best way to prepare for the future is to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. This appoints a trusted representative to deal with matters, should you ever become incapable of doing so yourself. Where an individual has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney, the only alternative is to obtain a Court of Protection deputyship order.

Types of deputy

There are two types of deputy:

  • A property and financial affairs deputy
  • A personal welfare deputy

You can apply to the Court of Protection to be either or both for a relative. Only if they are no longer able to manage their own affairs, for example, because they have dementia. The court will only generally appoint a personal welfare deputy if there is an ongoing decision to be dealt with. This could be where someone will be cared for, or where family members disagree over what should happen.

A property and financial affairs deputy can manage the person’s finances. This includes paying bills, arranging maintenance of their home and, if necessary, selling it.

A personal welfare deputy can make decisions about where the individual will live. Responsibility is taken for their day-to-day routine and any medical treatment they will receive.

Applying for a deputyship order

You need to complete an application form and an assessment of capacity form in respect of the individual for whom you intend to act. The assessment of capacity form needs to have details of the person’s impairment added by a practitioner. This could be the individual’s GP, psychiatrist, an approved mental health professional, social worker, psychologist, nurse or an occupational therapist.

The application must name three people who know the individual. This could be their relatives, their social worker or their doctor. The Court of Protection stamps your application and returns it to you. In the meantime it considers whether to grant a deputyship order. Send a copy of the application to the three people named on the application as well as the individual. You should also enclose an acknowledgement form for them to complete.

The individual must be told that you are the person applying to be their deputy and what this means. Furthermore they must be informed that this is because their ability to make their own decisions has been questioned. Also inform them where they can get advice.

Give them a completed notification form advising of the proceedings. Include an acknowledgement form to complete if they wish to have any input in the process.

The court will consider the forms and in addition may request a hearing or ask for more information, such as a report from a social worker.

Court of Protection deputy fees include an application fee of £371 and an additional fee of £494 if there is a hearing.

If you are asking for a deputyship order to enable you to deal with property and finances, you will usually need to pay for a security bond that will provide insurance cover.

Acting as a deputy

Once the deputyship order has been made by the court, the appointed deputy can use it to start dealing with the person’s affairs. Provide the bank with a certified copy of the order together with your identification documentation. You can now start managing the person’s bank account.

Acting as a deputy means keeping clear and accurate records of everything you do. Include any decisions you make and financial transactions.

An annual report form is sent to the Court of Protection each year that you act as a deputy. This has to include the reasons you took the decisions you did. Furthermore you must state why you believe these decisions to be in the best interests of the person. Include details of anyone else you consulted about a decision. Note why they felt a decision was in the person’s best interests and all the financial details.

A supervision fee is payable each year and it is usually a requirement that a deputy pay an annual fee for a security bond.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a cheaper and easier alternative. However this can only be put in place while someone still has sufficient mental capacity to understand the implications of signing.

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