The Role of a Deputy in the Court of Protection
A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions on behalf of someone who’s unable to make decisions themselves, perhaps because of an impairment or disturbance in the functioning of their brain.
This may be permanent or temporary and can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Age-related conditions
- Learning disabilities
- Acquired brain injury
- Substance abuse.
If you have any questions or concerns about Deputyship get in touch with our Court of Protection Solicitors for free initial legal advice.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection was established in 2007 and has the authority to make one-off decisions regarding someone’s property/financial affairs or their health and welfare. Alternatively, where a series of decisions need to be made, the Court can appoint a Deputy to make these decisions.
Who Can Be Appointed as a Deputy?
A Deputy can be a family member, a close friend or a professional like a Solicitor or social worker. To become a Deputy, you must be over the age of 18, be of good character and in the case of finance and property affairs, have the skills to make financial decisions for someone else.
The Court of Protection appoints significantly more Deputies to deal with property and finance affairs than for health and welfare matters.
In some cases, the Court of Protection may appoint more than one Deputy and this can be a mix of family and professional Deputies if required.
In cases where no one is available to act as someone’s Deputy, the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy from its panel, which includes Local Authority personnel, Solicitors and charity bodies.
A Deputy will only be appointed after the Court of Protection is satisfied that the person needing to make the decision lacks the mental capacity to do so and there’s no less restrictive option available.
We should point out that if someone made and registered a Lasting Power of Attorney while they still had mental capacity, the Court of Protection won’t appoint a Deputy unless there’s evidence to show that the Attorney is failing in their duties or that the Lasting Power of Attorney was flawed.
The Role of a Financial Deputy
On appointment as a Deputy, the Court of Protection will set out a Deputy’s general authority. The usual responsibilities the Deputy is authorised to deal with on behalf of the incapacitated person include:
- Having day to day control and access to their bank accounts
- Paying bills such as their care fees or housing costs
- Ensuring they receive their entitlement to benefits, carrying out regular reviews and making applications if necessary
- Preparing annual accounts for the Office of the Public Guardian; the supervisory body
- Preparing their tax return, if applicable
- Meeting with them and their family regularly to understand their needs and levels of expenditure
- Taking financial advice and making investment decisions.
The Court of Protection may authorise the Deputy to make wider decisions such as selling or purchasing property if required.
How We Can Help You
Our Court of Protection Solicitors have vast experience in making applications to the Court and dealing with the general management of Deputyships.
We offer legal advice on making applications to the Court of Protection and/or we can make Court applications on your behalf. We can advise you on:
- Appointing or Discharging Deputies
- Advising and assisting in contested applications, including applications to replace an Attorney
- Gift applications
- Trusteeship applications.
We also manage a number of Deputyships for clients and two of our Court of Protection Solicitors are also professional Deputies, Grace Serwanga in our Kingston-upon-Thames office, and James Skinner in our Leeds office.
Both have extensive experience in working with clients who have had successful litigation claims and have received substantial damages awards arising from their Court of Protection claims.
For free legal advice call our Court of Protection Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.