Steps are being taken to ease lockdown restrictions; however, life is still a long way from being back to normal. Following our article in May when we discussed Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney under lockdown, this article looks in more detail at the...
What is a Deputy?
If a person lacks mental capacity, they may not be able to manage their affairs. Unless they have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place, nobody will be legally authorised to assist them with this. In these circumstances you can apply to become their Deputy.
There are many reasons for incapacity such as dementia, brain injury or illness or severe learning difficulties.
A Deputy is legally authorised to make decisions for the person who has lost capacity, usually in relation to their property and finances. In some circumstances, it is possible to be appointed as a Deputy in relation to a person’s health and welfare, but this is rare and will only usually be permitted in extreme circumstances.
What is a Deputyship Order?
In order to become a Deputy, you need to make an application to the Court of Protection. When they approve your appointment as a Deputy, they issue a Deputyship Order, and this gives the Deputy the legal authority to act on behalf of the person who has lost capacity.
Can a person have more than one Deputy?
It is possible for more than one Deputy to be appointed. If there is more than one, the Deputyship Order will state whether they act ‘jointly’, in which case they must make all decisions together; or ‘jointly and severally’, which means that they can make decisions together or by themselves. During the application process the proposed Deputies must confirm which option they require.
What are a Deputy’s responsibilities?
The Deputyship Order sets out what the attorneys can and cannot do. They must also follow the rules set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice. A Deputy must always act in the best interests of the person and must help them to retain as much independence as possible.
Deputies are also supervised by the Court of Protection and so must record the decisions they make and provide full accounts to show how they have managed the person’s money.
How can we help?
At our initial meeting we will discuss with you the application process, including the different steps involved so that you will be fully informed from the outset. We will be on-hand throughout the process to deal with any queries you may have or issues that may arise in relation to the application.
We understand that discussing the loss of capacity for a loved one is a sensitive and difficult matter and we pride ourselves on our personal and friendly approach.
In circumstances where there is no suitable family member who can act as a Deputy, we are also able to step in and act in this capacity to ensure that the person’s affairs can be kept in order.
If you have any questions in relation to Deputyships or are not sure whether this is necessary or appropriate in your circumstances, please get in touch and we would be happy to discuss this with you.
Do I need to use a solicitor?
The application process for a Deputyship Order is lengthy and complex and includes service of documents on family members, a medical capacity assessment of the person involved, as well as providing full details of their financial circumstances.
At Dawson Hart we specialise in matters relating to mental capacity and vulnerable clients and can assist you at every stage of what can be a daunting process, from preparing the court paperwork through to receiving the Deputyship Order which will allow you to act on the other person’s behalf. We aim to ensure that the application progresses smoothly and as quickly as possible within the procedural timeframe.
We can also advise you in relation to your annual reporting duties as a Deputy once the Deputyship Order has been obtained and assist you with this if required.