Do you have a family member who has sadly lost the ability to run their own affairs, but does not have in place Lasting Powers of Attorney? Regrettably, many people leave this until it is too late. However, there is an alternative. Instead, you can make a deputyship application to the Court of Protection to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’. This means they cannot make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made, although they may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.
A deputyship application is usually necessary if a person has not made Lasting Powers of Attorney soon enough, and now no longer has capacity to do so. As a deputy, you will be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf. Deputies are often close family members or friends of the person in question, although there are also professional people who fulfil this role.
A person may lack mental capacity as a result of dementia, a serious brain injury or illness or possibly due to having severe learning disabilities.
Types of Deputy
Much like with Lasting Powers of Attorney, there are 2 types of deputy:
- A deputy for property and financial affairs, who will do things such as pay the person’s bills or organise their pension; and
- A deputy for personal welfare, who will make decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after.
The court will usually only appoint a personal welfare deputy if there is doubt whether decisions will be made in someone’s best interests, for example because the family disagree about care; or if someone needs to be appointed to make decisions about a specific issue over time, for example where someone will live. The vast majority of deputyship applications relate to property and financial affairs, rather than health and welfare.
You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both types. If you are appointed, you will get a court order saying what you can and cannot do. Deputies’ activities are monitored closely by the court – much more closely, in fact, than those of attorneys. When you become a deputy, you must send an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) each year, detailing and explaining the decisions you’ve made.
Alternatively, if you want to make a single important decision for someone, you can apply to the Court of Protection for a one-off order.
If the person already has a lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney (EPA), they do not usually need a deputy. Check if they have an LPA or EPA before you apply.
How do I apply for Deputyship?
The deputyship application process is broadly as follows: –
- Confirm incapacity
- Complete relevant forms and apply to Court of Protection
- Court of Protection issues application form
- Notify the person to whom the application relates, as well as at least 3 of their relatives/close friends, who have the opportunity to raise any objections (3 week waiting period)
- Further application to Court of Protection
- Arrange security bond
- Court of Protection makes Deputyship Order
- Notify person to whom application relates and the Court of Protection
The process tends to be long-drawn-out because of the Court of Protection’s turnaround times, and realistically, it usually takes about 9-10 months from start to finish.
Deputyship Court Fees
It is important to be aware that there are various fees payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service during the application process. There is an initial application fee of £365 payable when you make the deputyship application, or £730 if you are applying to become a deputy for both property and financial affairs and health and welfare. If the court decides that a court hearing is in order (seldom the case with an uncontested application), there is a hearing fee of an additional £485. New deputies also need to pay an assessment fee of £100.
Once you have been appointed as a deputy, there is an annual supervision fee payable on an ongoing basis, whilst your deputyship appointment remains in place. It costs £320 for ‘general supervision’ during the year, and this fee is due on 31st March annually, in arrears. Deputies for property and financial affairs are also obliged to take out a type of insurance known as a ‘security bond’ which is designed to protect the finances of the person whom you are representing. The cost of this is typically around £100.