Some people don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place when they lose the capacity to make decisions. If this happens, someone must apply for Deputyship, which can be a long and expensive process. You can avoid this by setting up an LPA.
What Is Deputyship
A Deputy is in charge of someone’s finances and property, welfare issues or both. They have to be appointed by the Court of Protection. The person they are a Deputy for usually must also either:
- Have income the Court of Protection believes to need the appointment of a Deputy
- Have property to be sold or bought
- Be at risk of decisions not being made in their best interests
The Deputy must be trustworthy. They are usually a close friend or relative.
Two or more Deputies can be appointed to work jointly (together on all decisions), or jointly and severally (separately or together on any decision). The Court can also choose an independent professional to be a Deputy, such as a solicitor.
Contact us today to discuss setting up an LPA, so your loved ones don’t have to apply for Deputyship.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection gets involved if someone loses the capacity to make their own decisions. If they have a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court is not needed.
You have to apply to the Court to become a Deputy and must let them know if you are planning an important decision. They appoint Deputies and decide if someone has the mental capacity to make a decision.
What is the Office of the Public Guardian?
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) protects those who have lost capacity. They help family and advisers apply to the Court or manage the finances of the person they are Deputy for. They also supervise registered Deputies and look into reports of abuse against them. The OPG may check you are carrying out your responsibilities well or have the right support.
Types of Deputy
There are two types of Deputy:
Property and Financial Affairs – they take care of things like paying the person’s bills or organising their pension
Personal Welfare – they make decisions about the person’s social care and medical treatment
A Personal Welfare Deputy is appointed if it isn’t certain that decisions will be made in the person’s best interests. They are also appointed if someone needs to make decisions about a specific issue, like where they will live.
You can become one or both types of Deputy. If appointed, you will receive a court order to tell you what you can do. You must send a report to the OPG explaining the decisions you have made.
You can apply to be a Deputy if you are 18 years old or over. In most cases, you should also be a close friend or relative of the person lacking capacity. Others can apply, but you are most likely to be accepted if you have a close relationship with the person you want to represent. To become a Property and Affairs Deputy, you must also have the skills to make good financial decisions.
What are a Deputy’s responsibilities?
Becoming someone’s Deputy is a huge responsibility. The main duties of a Deputy include:
- Opening a Deputy account at a bank or building society
- Preparing the accounts of the person you are a Deputy for
- Claiming social security benefits for them, if they are entitled
- Making sure their bills are paid
- Keeping their property maintained and insured
- Deciding where they will live, i.e. a care home
- Consenting to their medical and dental treatment
Strict rules have to be followed, for everyone’s protection. When making a decision for them, you must:
- Ensure it is in their best interests
- Add it to your annual report to the OPG
- Apply a high standard of care, e.g. get advice from doctors or relatives
- Do everything possible to help them understand the decision
- Keep your money and property separate from theirs, if you are a Property and Affairs Deputy
You must not:
- Hold property or money in your name on their behalf
- Stop life-sustaining medical treatment
- Restrain them, unless it stops them harming themselves
- Take advantage of them
- Make or change their Will
- Give gifts from their estate, unless approved by the Court
How much does it cost?
To apply for Deputyship, you must pay the following court costs:
- A £385 application fee
- £500 if the Court takes your case to a hearing
- An annual supervision fee – £320 for general, £35 for minimal. Minimal supervision applies to some
- Property Deputies managing less than £21,000
- A £100 assessment fee if you are a new Deputy
- A security bond to the provider, if you are a Property Deputy. This works as insurance to protect the person’s finances. The amount will depend on the estate value and how much of it you control. You can use the person’s money to pay this bond.
You may be able to get help with the fees if the person who you’re Deputy for receives certain benefits, or has an income of less than £12,000 a year. You may also be able to recover them with the person’s money.
Want to find out more about Deputyship?
If you have more questions about Deputyship, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website.
Deputyship can be confusing, time-consuming and difficult to arrange. Avoid the stress by planning ahead and setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney.