As a Court of Protection Lawyer, I assist with matters pertaining to individuals who have lost mental capacity to manage their property and financial affairs. As such, I am required to work closely with the Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection is the specialist court with jurisdiction over the property and financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
However, the Court can also give powers to someone else if there is a need for decisions to be made on an ongoing basis. If the Court gives these powers to someone else, they are known as a Deputy. If someone wishes to be appointed as a Deputy, an application must be made to the Court for an order appointing them in this capacity.
There are two types of Deputyship Order as follows:-
Property and Affairs Deputy – this allows a named individual to make decisions about property and financial affairs including the sale and purchase of property;
Personal Welfare Deputyship – this allows a named individual to make health and welfare decisions on the person’s behalf such as what medical treatment they are to receive and how they are looked after.
Anyone over the age of eighteen can be appointed as a Deputy. Deputies are usually close family or friends of the person who needs the help. To become a property and affairs Deputy, you need to have the skills to make financial decisions on the person’s behalf. If the proposed Deputy has in the past been made bankrupt or has previous criminal convictions, the application to the Court is likely to be rejected.
If the application is successful, the Court will grant the Order setting out the Deputy’s specific powers in relation to the person’s property and financial affairs or personal welfare. Once appointed, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will help the Deputy carry out their responsibilities. The Deputy must always act in the person’s best interests and follow the rules of the Mental Capacity Act.
The Deputyship order will continue until the Court order is changed, expires or is cancelled on the death of the person lacking capacity.
For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice speak to a member of our Private Client Team in your local office.