If a friend, loved one or yourself lost the capacity to manage financial affairs and either an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) or a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has not been put in place, a deputyship application is the next step.
A Deputyship application is usually made by either a family member, close friend, a professional such as a Solicitor or Accountant or, in a worst case scenario, a Local Authority. This application is made to the Court of Protection (COP).
1. What is the COP?
The Court of Protection is an institution based in Central London. It intervenes on behalf of individuals who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves.
2. When would the Court appoint a Deputy?
A Deputy is appointed when an individual can no longer look after their financial affairs as they are not capable of making decisions for themselves.
When there is no EPA or LPA in place, prior to the individual losing capacity, an application would need to be made to the COP asking the Court to appoint a Deputy to act on that individual's behalf.
4. Who decides if someone lacks capacity?
The ultimate decision lies with the Court. If a solicitor when preparing an LPA application has suspicions that the client lacks capacity, they can seek medical evidence from their local GP or consultant. If that evidence states that the person lacks capacity it will no longer be possible to proceed with an LPA Application and an application will need to be made to the Court requesting the appointment of a Deputy.
When submitting a Deputyship Application, evidence from either the GP or consultant is obtained and provided to the COP in support of the application and for them to take into account when appointing a Deputy.
5. What does a Deputy do?
A Property and Financial Affairs Deputy would have the responsibility of looking after someone's financial affairs. This would include paying their bills, taking control of their bank accounts and in some circumstances either selling or renting their property.
As a Deputy they must account to the COP at all times and every year must provide a 'Deputyship Report' to the Court. The Court may at times ask for financial information throughout the year.
6. Who can be a Deputy?
Anybody over the age of 18 can be a Deputy, however, the Court want to ensure that the appointed Deputy is suitable for the role. Therefore if they have been declared bankrupt or found guilty of a criminal offence, it is unlikely the Court would appoint them as a Deputy.
The Court conduct regular reviews and an annual fee will need to be put in place. To avoid the additional costs and the possibility of the Local Authority managing your financial affairs, we can assist you with putting place an LPA for both Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Care Decisions.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss applying for a deputyship, please contact Lisa Carter on 01245 228127.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.