What is a Court of Protection Deputy?
Jan 26, 2016
The Court of Protection is a special court that helps to decide legal matters for people who lack the capacity to make decisions on their own. This can be for a number of reasons; for example, if someone has an accident and is in a coma or someone has a progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s, neither of them can make decisions about their care or finances on their own - they lack capacity by the legal definition. Therefore, they need a deputy to act on their behalf and make decisions for them.
The Court of Protection can make one-off decisions about someone’s care if they temporarily lack capacity or the Court can appoint a Deputy to make decisions in the best interest of the person they are acting for.
There are two types of Deputy; property and financial affairs and personal welfare. You can apply for one or both types and once appointed by the Court of Protection you will have a court order to outline what you can do, but also what you can’t.
In order to apply to be a Deputy you must meet a number of set criteria. These are:
- You must be over 18 years old
- You should be a close friend or relative
- If you are applying to look after someone’s financial affairs, you must be competent to do so
The Court can decide to appoint two or more deputies for one person if they feel that is in the best interests of the individual concerned.
Once you have confirmed that you meet the criteria laid down, an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection by submitting an application form and various supplemental documents. The fee is £400 for each deputyship you apply for although there are certain criteria that would see the fee waived.
Once you have been appointed Deputy, there is an ongoing annual fee of £320 for general supervision and £35 for financial supervision only on property and affairs worth less than £21,000.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has a duty and obligation to supervise you and ensure that you are acting in the best interests of the person you are Deputy for. You will have to write a report each year and you could be visited by a Court of Protection visitor. You will also need to have a deputy bond which protects the patient should you do anything that may be wrong and this is an annual expense.
You can see this is quite an expensive and lengthy process. In circumstances where someone has dementia and you know that they will eventually lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves, they can put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place whilst they still have the capacity to do so and this removes the need to go through the Deputyship process. LPAs are cheaper and quicker and have the same legal effect; they are just made at a different point.
If you would like to talk to our experienced team about Deputyships, the Court of Protection or Lasting Powers of Attorney please do get in touch. You can call us on 01264 353411, contact us online, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you.
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