The Court of Protection makes decisions about financial or welfare matters for people who are unable to make decisions and where there is no valid Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney. We advise and help with all types of Court of Protection applications
What is a Court of Protection Deputy?
A Deputy is someone appointed by the Court to manage the property and affairs and/or personal welfare of a person who is unable to make those decisions for themselves because they lack mental capacity.
Who can be a Deputy?
A Deputy must be aged over 18 and will often be a close friend or relative of the person who needs assistance to make decisions.
A Deputy can also be a Solicitor. We can act as a professional Deputy if this is appropriate.
There are two types of Deputy: –
- Property and Financial Affairs (dealing with the sale of property, paying bills, making investment decisions)
- Health and Welfare matters (making decisions about medical treatment and how and where someone is looked after)
A Property and Financial Affairs Deputy will need to have the ability, understanding and skills to make financial decisions for someone else.
The Court can appoint two or more Deputies for the same person, to act together or separately in making decisions.
A Deputyship Court Order will confirm what the appointed Deputy can and cannot do.
What is the role of the Court of Protection?
The Court deals with a wide range of issues including:
- Deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves
- Assessing the suitability of people applying to be Deputies
- Making Court Orders to appoint Deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves
- Considering applications to make gifts or statutory wills
- Handling emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone as a matter of urgency (e.g. emergency medical treatment)
- Making decisions about the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney or Enduring Powers of Attorney and considering objections to the registration of these documents
- Considering cases where someone is deemed to have been deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards)
How do I Apply to Become a Deputy?
We can help you complete the lengthy Court application forms and obtain the necessary assessment of capacity from either a GP or other medical professional. When the Court application is ready a number of family members must be formally notified of the proposed application, so they have chance to raise any objections that they may have. We help you ensure that all the Court requirements are complied with in a timely manner.
What does a Court of Protection Application Cost?
Usually the fees mentioned below will all be paid from money belonging to the person who the application is for. The person applying to be Deputy does not have to pay them personally. If the Deputy does pay they are reimbursed in due course.
A Court application fee of £400 is payable direct to the Court of Protection, when the application is sent to Court.
Legal charges for the work involved in making the application are set at a fixed level depending upon the type of application (‘fixed costs’). We confirm likely charges at the outset when we know the type of application required and what is likely to be involved.
You will also need to pay a fee to set up a Security Bond to protect the finances of the person for whom you are acting as Deputy. It is like an insurance policy. The cost of the Security Bond is fixed with reference to the value of the assets that you will be managing.
An assessment fee of £100 is payable if you are a new Deputy.
After you have been appointed, you must pay an annual supervision fee which is calculated based on the degree of supervision that your Deputyship needs. There are two standards of supervision:
- £320 for ‘general supervision’
- £35 for ‘minimal supervision’ (if you’re a property and affairs deputy managing less than £21,000).
Can I get a Fee Exemption or Reduction?
There are a number of exemptions and reductions available in respect of fees, depending on the type of Deputyship you are applying for and the financial status of you and also the person for whom you are acting. We will tell you about any fee exemptions or reductions which may apply.
What do I do as Deputy?
If your application is successful you will be issued with a Court Order outlining what you can and cannot do as Deputy. You will be given copies of the Order to send to relevant institutions (for example Banks) to prove to them that you have authority to act.
You can begin acting:
- Immediately if you’re a Personal Welfare Deputy
- After payment of the Security Bond if you are a Property and Financial Affairs Deputy
What Supervision and Support will There be?
During your time acting as a Deputy, you will be supported and supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). They are authorised to contact you or visit you to check that you are acting correctly in your role as Deputy.
Property and Financial Affairs Deputies must keep accounts and retain copies of all correspondence and documents relating to their activities as a Deputy (e.g. bank statements, contracts, letters and receipts etc.)
The Court Order appointing you as Deputy will set out whether you can buy gifts or give gifts of money on behalf of the Donor, including making charitable donations. It may also provide for an annual limit on such gifts. Any gifts must be reasonable and you must be sure not to reduce the assets of the person for whom you are Deputy so as to detrimentally affect them. A specific Court application must be made if you want to make a large one-off gift e.g. for Inheritance Tax planning purposes.
You can claim expenses for things you must do in order to carry out your role as Deputy e.g. phone calls, postage and travel costs. However, you cannot claim travel costs for social visits; or for the time spent carrying out your duties (unless you are a professional Deputy). The Court can ask for a detailed assessment of your expenses and can ask for money back, or stop you from acting as a Deputy, if they find that your expenses have been unreasonable or if they think you have been dishonest.
Each year you will have to complete an annual report outlining the decisions you have taken as Deputy that year and explaining the reasons for your decisions and how they were in the best interests of the person for whom you are acting as Deputy.
We can guide and advise you at each stage, making things clear and easy to understand and helping to reduce the risks, stress and worry involved.
In addition to standard Deputyship applications we can also help you with more specialised Court of Protection applications and matters including: –
- Making applications for gifts, Statutory Wills, and settlements
- Acting on behalf of someone who lacks capacity to conduct court proceedings (i.e. as their “Litigation Friend”)
- Making applications for the replacement of Trustees who lack capacity, including where property is owned jointly.
Please contact us to arrange an initial free meeting so that we can discuss how we can help you.