Deputyships and the Court of Protection
If someone loses their ability to deal with their own affairs, and hasn’t made a Lasting Power of Attorney, the best course of action may be for a friend or relative to make an application to be appointed as a Deputy.
We regularly advise those with an early diagnosis of dementia about making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and our view is that having a LPA is just as important as having a valid and up-to-date Will. However, it may be that something unexpected happens, or that you just haven’t got around to making an LPA.
Applying for a deputyship to the Court of Protection
A relative or friend can make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed to look after someone’s affairs. This person is known as a Deputy.
When a Deputy is appointed they can take over managing someone’s affairs. Usually, this is in relation to financial matters but it can also be for issues related to health and welfare.
At first sight all the forms look very complicated. We can help you make this application by completing the forms for you. One of the forms has to be completed by a doctor who either knows the person concerned or visits them to assess their ability to deal with their own finances. Usually the doctor will charge a fee for preparing this form and for any visit. Quite people’s GPs do not want to complete this form but we have contacts with specialist doctors who will go and see people to make this assessment and complete the form.
There are usually three other forms to complete which give quite detailed information both about the deputy and the person on whose behalf they are applying. We try to make life easy by providing you with a questionnaire which will take you through all the information which we need.
Once these forms are completed then we can make the application for the deputy to be appointed.
How long will it take for a Deputy to be appointed?
- We find that it usually takes between 4 to 6 weeks for people to obtain all the information that is needed and for the medical assessment to be completed.
- Once the application is issued by the Court of Protection there are various papers that have to be sent to different people including friends and/or relatives and we will arrange this for you.
- Time has to be allowed for people who have been given notice of the application to make any representations that they wish to make.
- Once this time has been allowed the court will look at the application and see whether this can be granted.
- Once the order has been made the court will often ask for an insurance bond to be taken out to cover the unlikely situation that the person appointed as the deputy acts inappropriately or dishonestly.
How much does it cost?
The legal costs are fixed by the Court of Protection and those are the costs we are paid. They amount to £850 plus VAT. There is a means-tested Court fee payable to the Court of protection.
In addition, there is usually a fee payable to the doctor who assesses the ability to deal with the person’s affairs themselves.
These fees are not paid by the Deputy, but once a Deputyship order is made are properly payable out of the donor’s money.
Applying for a deputyship enable somebody’s affairs to be properly dealt with rather than staying in limbo which is clearly not acceptable – and can be very difficult to manage.
In certain limited circumstances where people’s finances are very straightforward there may be other ways we can advise on to avoid the need for a deputyship.
We have a team who are very experienced in dealing with these applications. Please do not hesitate to contact us as we are very happy to answer informal queries so that you can make the right decision for you and your family.
Contact our Deputyship and Court of Protection Solicitors in Wakefield on 01924 332395 or Pontefract on 01977 705762.