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If you have a friend or relative who is mentally incapable and does not have a valid lasting power of attorney, it may be necessary to appoint someone as a deputy to manage their affairs. A lasting power of attorney would not be suitable in this instance as the individual in question must have capacity to make the application for lasting powers of attorney. The individual for whom the deputy is appointed is generally referred to as ‘P’.
A deputyship is a legal document, granting the deputy permission to take care of P’s affairs, which may relate to finances, welfare, or both. Applying for a deputyship can be a complicated legal process, and it is not advised to proceed without the support of a court of protection and deputyship solicitor.
Our specialist solicitors have much experience supporting individuals to apply for a deputyship. We can offer legal advice and information about deputyships, support with the court of protection application process, and guidance to deal with deputyship objections and disputes. Our solicitors can act as a professional deputy, if there is not an appropriate friend or family member, to act on behalf of ‘P’.
Our Glanvilles Wills, trusts & estate planning team advise clients on whether a deputyship application is necessary, and any suitable alternatives. We can prepare the application and advise the deputy on their powers and duties once appointed.
When applying to the court of protection, there are two different types of deputyships, that may be granted. Deputies are able to apply for either one type of deputyship, or both.
A health and welfare deputy acts to make decisions about P’s medical treatment. The health and welfare deputy may be required to make decisions about care services and consenting to medical treatment. This type of deputy may also need to make day-to-day decisions, for example, about living arrangements, diet and general health.
The property and financial affairs deputyship permits the chosen individual, to manage P’s finances. A property and financial deputy can make decisions about general purchases, investing, paying bills, or selling property.
In many circumstances a person who lacks capacity will require both financial and health and welfare support from the appointed deputy. Deputies may act either solely or more than one can be appointed to act jointly.
To appoint someone as a deputy, an application must be made to the court of protection. In order to apply for a deputyship, there are several deputyship forms that must be completed. The court of protection application forms are used to provide details about P, and P’s appointed deputy. As part of the process, the court must receive evidence that P lacks capacity, this evidence should be submitted by a medical professional.
Applying to the court of protection involves a lengthy process, the deputy is required to adhere to various legal codes of practice and application time constraints. It’s crucial to gain the support of a court of protection solicitor, to support your deputyship application. For more information, get in touch with Glanvilles Legal Services.
Appointed deputies are often relatives or close friends of P, the person must be over 18 years old to be appointed as a deputy. Under some circumstances, friends or family members may be denied deputyship if the court does not judge them to be a suitable individual. When a friend or family member acts as a deputy, these people are known as lay deputies.
If there is not an appropriate candidate to act as lay deputy, a professional deputy can be appointed on behalf of P. Professional deputies can be solicitors and our solicitors at Glanvilles are able to serve as deputies for vulnerable clients if required.
There are a number of responsibilities that come with being a deputy. For example, a deputy must act in the best interests of P and act with due care and skill. Deputies must not profit from their position and must act in good faith. In addition, deputies must act with appropriate confidentiality, and keep P’s money separate from their own.
Deputies are supervised by the court of protection. Supervision will either be general or minimal. General supervision is the normal level and may include a routine visit from a court of protection visitor to ensure the deputy is fulfilling their duties. An annual report must also be filed by the deputy setting out a number of decisions and facts. Some of these are as follows:
Minimal supervision is where the deputy is managing less than £21,000 worth of property and affairs and an annual report is not required in these circumstances.
Deputies are also required to take out a security insurance bond when they take on their role, though this is paid from the P’s funds and is therefore not for the deputy to pay. All deputies must keep accounts of all dealings and transactions made on behalf of P.
When applying for a deputyship, it’s common for deputyship disputes to arise. For instance, if a person applies for a deputyship to act on behalf of P, and one or more of P’s relatives disagrees that this person should be appointed.
Deputyship objections may be raised if a concerned party does not feel that the deputy will act in P’s best interests. There may also be an objection if there is concern that the deputy does not have the capacity to take on the responsibility.
If disputes arise as part of a deputyship application, our deputyship solicitors can offer legal support through the court hearing process. At the court hearing, involved parties must communicate their disputes and objections, and provide evidence where appropriate.
In some situations, though P has a family member who could act as deputy, that relative prefers to appoint a professional deputy. Obtaining deputyship is a huge responsibility, meaning that some people are wary of taking on the legal role.
Family members might be concerned about making big decisions on behalf of P, as well as adhering to legal codes of practice, or attending court. A relative might feel apprehensive about managing P’s finances, or a potential change in the relationship dynamic.
At Glanville Legal Services, we have plenty of experience in supporting clients to apply for a deputyship with the court of protection. We understand that acting on behalf of a vulnerable loved one can be tough, and can guarantee sensitive and pragmatic legal support, to see you through.
Our court of protection and deputyship solicitors can advise clients about their deputyship applications, and other legal matters related to the court of protection. Whether you’re dealing with a deputyship dispute, or you need to appoint a professional deputy, the team at Glanvilles can provide expert legal assistance.