If someone becomes mentally incapable of making decisions for themselves and have not granted an enduring power of attorney or lasting power of attorney, the Court of Protection may appoint a deputy to manage their affairs.
Our highly experienced team in Chester and Shrewsbury can provide advice and assistance in preparing deputyship applications, obtaining the required medical evidence, implementing the court order and assisting the deputy following their appointment.
Why Set up a Deputyship?
If a person has assets that need to be administered or decisions that need to be taken about their personal welfare but they lack mental capacity, a deputy can look after their affairs on their behalf. The deputy does not have free reign, however. Their specific powers will be set out in a court order.
In most cases, the deputy will be a spouse, partner or close family member, as long as they are over the age of 18.
When applying to be appointed deputy, any criminal convictions or bankruptcy arrangements must be declared. This may lead to the court refusing the application.
Where there is no-one willing or suitable to act as deputy for the person who lacks mental capacity, a professional deputy can be appointed.
What are the Duties of a Deputy?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out the deputy’s duties:
- A deputy must ensure they act in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity
- A deputy can only make decisions authorised by the Deputyship Order and must have regard to all relevant guidance in the Mental Capacity Act code of practice
The Office of the Public Guardian assesses and supervises each deputy. There are four levels of supervision, ranging from close supervision to light touch supervision.
How to Apply to Become a Deputy?
To apply to become a deputy, an application must be submitted to the Court of Protection. The court assesses the suitability of the deputy from the information provided on the application form.
The person who lacks capacity must be assessed by their GP (or other medical practitioner) to assess whether they lack capacity. A form to that effect must then be submitted alongside the application to the Court of Protection.
An application fee of £400 is payable to the Court of Protection. Once the deputy has been appointed, a deputy set-up fee is payable. Other fees include an annual supervision fee.
How can we help?
We are highly experienced in preparing applications to the Court on behalf of prospective deputies. The head of our Wills, Trusts & Tax team, Clive Pointon, is a member of the Court of Protection Panel of Professional Deputies and acts as deputy on many ongoing matters.
Clive Pointon – Chester Office
Partner & Head of Wills, Trusts & Tax
Lynda Richards – Shrewsbury Office
Wills, Trusts & Tax Partner