Do you know someone who lacks mental capacity to make decisions for themselves?
- Had a serious brain injury or illness
- Been diagnosed with dementia
- Had a severe learning disabilities
Would you like to be able to make decisions on their behalf?
If someone lacks mental capacity to make decisions for themselves you can apply to be appointed their deputy. As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection makes decisions on welfare or financial issues for people who are unable to make the decisions at the time they have to be made because they ‘lack mental capacity’.
The Court of Protection’s responsibilities include:
- Ascertaining whether a person has the mental capacity to make a decision for themselves.
- Appointing people as “deputies” to make decisions on behalf of the people who lack mental capacity.
- Giving permission for people to make one off decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity.
- Making decisions on both lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney
What is a Deputy?
A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. To become a deputy you must be at least 18 years of age and consent to the appointment of becoming a deputy. It is possible to appoint more than one deputy and this must be agreed before the application to the Court of Protection is made.
How do I apply to become a Deputy?
To apply to become a deputy, you will need to submit an application to the Court of Protection. The application process involves providing detailed information not only about the person to whom the application relates but also that of the deputy.
There are 2 types of deputyship applications that can be made to the Court of Protection:
- Application to manage the Property and Financial Affairs of the person who lacks mental capacity.
- Application to manage the Health and Welfare of the person who lacks mental capacity.
What will I have to do as a deputy?
Once appointed, a deputy can then take over running the affairs of the person to whom the application relates. This could include dealing with a sale of property, looking after bank accounts and all other investments.
There are many tasks and responsibilities that a deputy will be taking on, when acting as a deputy, you will have specific responsibilities. These include a duty to:
- Act with due care and skill (duty of care)
- Act in good faith
- Not to take advantage (fiduciary duty)
- Comply with the directions of the Court of Protection
When you’re making a decision, you must:
- Make sure it’s in the other person’s best interests
- Consider what they’ve done in the past
- Apply a high standard of care – this might mean involving other people, eg Getting advice from relatives and professionals like doctors
- Do everything you can to help the other person understand the decision, eg explain what’s going to happen with the help of pictures or sign language.
What happens once I apply?
The Court of Protection will review your application and make one of the following decisions:
- Your application will be approved or rejected
- You will be asked to provide more information to support your application, eg a report from social services
- A court hearing is going to be held to get more information
We can help
- Prepare and submit applications (by family members or others) to be appointed as a deputy
- Assist with specific legal issues deputies may have e.g. general financial management
- When there are no family members or friends willing or suitable to be deputies.
Contact us – Solicitors in South East London
Our dedicated team of specialists are here to help you. Our legal experts can advise and represent in cases where mental capacity is in dispute.
If you know someone who has lost mental capacity and you want to apply to become a deputy to act in their best interests contact us and speak to a professional on 020 8318 4345.
Court of Protection Solicitors and Lawyers in South East London Serving Lewisham, Lee Green, Hither Green, Greenwich, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham.