If a person lacks mental capacity to make decisions for themselves and they do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed, so that there is someone with legal authority to take decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of Deputy:

  1. A property and financial affairs Deputy who will be authorised to deal with bank accounts, pay bills, deal with income providers such as a person’s pension and investments. A Deputy can also obtain authority from the Court of Protection to sell a person’s house is necessary.
  2. A personal welfare Deputy makes decisions about medical treatment and how someone is cared for. The Court will be reluctant to appoint a Deputy over personal welfare unless absolutely necessary.

As part of the application process the Court of Protection will check that the person needs a Deputy, who is applying to become their Deputy, if they are suitable to act and that there are no objections to the appointment of that Deputy. The person applying to become a Deputy should not have criminal convictions or have bankruptcy arrangements in place.  If they have, they must be declared to the Court of Protection and this may result in the Court refusing that person to act as Deputy.

As a Deputy you must always act in the best interest of the person, assist the person to make decisions where possible and take into consideration any interests and wishes that the person has expressed in the past. A property and affairs Deputy must keep records of all finances dealt with and submit an annual report to the Court.

Applying to become a Deputy is a lengthy and costly process which can be stressful for family and friends. As well as the initial application fee, Deputies must also pay an annual supervision fee and arrange for insurance to be put in place to cover the estate assets they are dealing with.  For some, a Professional Deputy may be appropriate if the asset value is substantial and / or if there are not close family members or friends willing to act.

If you would like assistance in relation to the appointment of a Deputy, please do not hesitate to contact our: Trusts & Estates Department on 01244 354800 or email: heather.lally@dtmlegal.com or information@dtmlegal.com

This information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide specific legal advice.  It should not be relied upon in the absence of specific advice given in relation to particular circumstances.