The role of a court appointed deputy
If a friend or relative has lost mental capacity and there is no power of attorney in place, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed.
Deborah Adams, Head of Private Client department at Parnalls in Launceston explains what a deputy is and their role.
What is a deputy?
A deputy is an individual appointed by the Court of Protection to look after the affairs of a person who can no longer make their own decisions. This might be because they have a condition such as dementia or are suffering from a brain injury or mental illness that affects, for example, their ability to deal with their finances.
Types of deputy
There are two types of deputy:
- one for managing property and financial affairs; and
- one for dealing with personal welfare issues, such as medical treatment or deciding where a person should live.
An application can be made to appoint one or both types of deputy.
Who can act as a deputy?
Usually a family member or close friend is appointed to act as a person’s deputy. Alternatively, a professional such as a solicitor or accountant can be appointed.
The powers and duties of a deputy
A deputy has wide powers to manage a person’s day-to-day and longer term financial and personal affairs. They can also make decisions that a person is no longer able to make for themselves. Typically, this would include managing a person’s bank accounts, paying bills, settling care home or carer’s fees, applying for state benefits, dealing with pensions and investments, making decisions about how a person should be cared for and whether they should receive medical treatment.
Very often a deputy will need help from professional advisors to do their job properly. They may also need special approval from the court to do certain things, such as to sell a person’s house or to provide an income for a person’s children if the original order appointing the deputy was not wide enough to cover these actions.
Everything a deputy does must be done in the best interests of the person they have been appointed to act for.
Are deputies supervised?
The Court of Protection supervises deputies and requires them to keep comprehensive financial records of all transactions and to submit a full deputyship report each year. On occasions a deputy may be visited by a representative of the court who will want to check their paperwork and discuss how things are going.
Deputies must take out special insurance each year to protect the assets of the person they are looking after.
Is there anything I can do to avoid the need for a deputy?
The need for a deputy can be avoided if, before a person loses mental capacity, they create a lasting power of attorney appointing a friend, relative or professional advisor to act on their behalf in making the sorts of decisions a deputy might otherwise have to make for them. Doing this is relatively straightforward and costs significantly less than having to apply to appoint a deputy. Creating a lasting power of attorney is something your solicitor can help you with.
For a confidential discussion about court appointed deputies or powers of attorney, please contact Deborah Adams or Jonathan Pounder on 01566 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.