What is Deputyship Management…
The Issues of Deputyship Management have recently been highlighted in the media. You may have seen the reports surrounding Britney Spears, and her father having control over her finances through something called a Conservatorship. Her father was granted control over her finances in 2008, after it was decided that Ms. Spears lacked the capacity to manage her own property and finances. Ms. Spears however alleged that the Conservatorship carried on for too long and that her father had abused his position. Ms. Spears has now successfully challenged her father’s Conservatorship and is once again managing her own financial affairs.
Do we have Conservatorship in this country?
In England and Wales, the equivalent of a Conservatorship is a Deputyship.
What is a Deputyship?
A Deputyship is a Court Order made by the Court of Protection. In essence, the Court of Protection will consider whether someone (“P”) has the mental capacity to manage their own finances. If, based on the evidence presented to them, they consider that the individual concerned lacks mental capacity, they will grant a Court Order appointing a Deputy to manage that person’s financial and property affairs.
When is a Deputyship needed?
If “P” has indeed lost mental capacity to manage their own finances. This could occur due to illnesses such as dementia, mental health disorders or due to “P” being in a coma. A Deputy can ensure their financial affairs are in order. A Deputy can also be appointed to make decisions relating to the health and welfare of “P”, under a separate Court order.
How do I become a Deputy?
In order to be appointed as a Deputy, an application has to be made to the Court of Protection. Several application forms have to be completed. Indeed, the proposed Deputy must complete application forms providing their information, and confirm that they fully understand the duty they are undertaking and the responsibilities that come with being a Deputy. The Court requires details of “P”, details of “P’s” finances and a capacity assessment which should be completed by an appropriate health professional.
What happens once I become a Deputy?
Once a Court order has been made appointing an individual as a Deputy, the Deputy then has legal authority to control “P’s” finances. Once the Court order is granted, the Deputy assumes responsibility for that individual’s finances, and so must ensure they manage everything accordingly.
The Court Order will however place restrictions on the powers available to the Deputy. The Court will not usually issue a Court Order which gives carte blanche to the Deputy to manage “P’s” affairs in whatever way they see fit. For example, the Court will usually require a further application in order to sell property belonging to “P”.
What does Deputyship Management involve?
Deputyship management includes looking after “P’s” property, paying their bills and care fees (if applicable), making sure they receive any benefits they are entitled to and ensuring they have enough income to meet their needs. Deputies also have to keep a record of all financial transactions they undertake on behalf of “P”, and each year have to complete a report and send this to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Furthermore, professional Deputies, that is Deputies who are paid for their role as Deputies, have to ensure they comply with the Office of the Public Guardian Professional Standards. Failure to adhere to the standards could mean that the Office of the Public Guardian investigates whether the Deputy is competent enough to be a Deputy, and in some circumstances may refer the matter to the Court of Protection who may remove the Deputy in question.
If you need advice on how to put a Deputyship order in place or would like to discuss a Deputyship issue…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our team is on hand to answer your questions and guide you through the process. To find out more on out Deputyship Management services click here.