A Deputyship Application is required to appoint an individual or individuals to make ongoing decisions for a person who is unable to do so for themselves (referred to by the Court of Protection as “P”) and who has not already appointed such a person under a valid Power of Attorney.
Making an Application for a Deputy
Applications for Deputy Orders incur a one-off application fee of £385, which is payable to the Court. Fees incurred in instructing a Solicitor to assist you with the process are usually granted out of the estate of the person who has lost capacity.
An assessment of the person’s capacity by an appropriate professional is also required by the Court.
Once an order is approved by the Court, you are required to put in place a Security Bond to protect and insure the person’s assets against any mismanagement.
Property and Financial Affairs
This is a commonly sought application to obtain access to and ongoing authorisation to make decisions for P in relation to their property and financial affairs.
Functions granted often include the ability to invest monies, sell property and investments, access bank accounts, apply for benefits and to provide gifts on behalf of P on customary occasions. (See Gifting Applications)
Information to make this application is intended to paint a full picture of P’s financial affairs for the Court, including income, expenditure, capital assets, savings, property etc.
Health and Personal Welfare
Personal Welfare Deputy Orders are seldom granted by the Court of Protection, but for in extreme circumstances. The Court are reluctant to grant sweeping general orders in this respect because of the nature of the decisions to be made and instead, prefers for Best Interests Meetings to be held to discuss solutions where possible.
That said, Personal Welfare Orders can be made if it can be established that the need to make ongoing and repeat decisions is required and so there is usually very strong medical evidence in these cases. Quite often, these Orders are most likely granted on behalf of those who have never had capacity (for example children coming of age who have complex medical circumstances).
Functions granted often include the ability to make decisions about where P should live and with whom, day-to-day care, diet and dress, consenting to routine medical treatment, arranging and complaining about care.
In addition to general welfare Deputy Orders, it is also possible to make applications to the Court on an ad hoc basis against or for particular health and welfare decisions.
Who should make a Deputyship Application?
It is important to consider at the outset who would be the most appropriate person to act for P. This could be a close relative, a friend or a professional and there will usually be various reasons for and against choosing any particular person.
The main factor is that the person must be willing to act in this role themselves. It can be heavy going and involves accurate record-keeping and form filling and a good understanding of what is or is not allowed under the Order. In the absence of a willing volunteer, the Local Authority can make an application to manage these matters themselves as Deputy or to appoint a professional Deputy from the Court’s Panel of approved Deputies.
Why use a professional Deputy?
Professional Deputies have the advantage of having extensive knowledge and experience of the role. When appointing a Panel Deputy, you can have the comfort of knowing that the Court of Protection themselves have scrutinised and inspected the professional concerned and considers them to have the expertise to have been selected for the limited nationwide Panel. It is also worth noting that professional Deputies too have to complete the annual reports and are subject to spot-checks and inspections by the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”).
Appointing a third party professional can also relieve the stress and the burden of acting in this legal post, which can often take away from being the friend or relative to the person in question. It can also avoid putting you in a potentially difficult position with other members of P’s family and avoids the possibility of conflicting interests becoming an issue.
At Tollers, we have a distinct and separate team dedicated to supporting and assisting our professional deputies and together we manage a caseload of over 80 clients who are deemed unable to manage their own financial affairs. We are one of the leading law firms acting in the area of Court of Protection and are trusted to work closely with Local Authorities to find appropriate solutions for vulnerable people.
(For more information see Professional Attorneyship and Deputyship Management)
Ongoing Management as Deputy
If you do decide to apply to act as Deputy yourself, once appointed you will have ongoing requirements and duties to comply with. The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) is your supervisory body and can be contacted for advice and assistance.
The OPG also requires you to prepare and present a report to them each year to show all income and outgoings for the person you are appointed to act for. It is therefore important to keep a tidy and accurate record of bank statements, invoices and receipts.
If you would like us to assist you in preparing your annual report, we can do so at the Court’s fixed rate of £265 plus vat. Please contact a member of the EVCU to discuss this further.
Talk to Tollers
Our team are also available to assist with any ongoing issues or queries you have in relation to your Deputyship and can provide clear and concise advice and support throughout your role as Deputy. (For more information see our page Acting as an Attorney or Deputy.)