Appointing a Deputy
What are the options if a person does not have the mental capacity to manage their property and financial affairs?
In our previous blog, we explored what you can do if you suspect a loved one is becoming unable to manage their financial affairs. If this is established, it will be necessary to find a legal way of managing their affairs for them.
If a person is deemed not to have the mental capacity required to manage their property and financial affairs, they also cannot appoint someone to act on their behalf under a Lasting Power of Attorney, even if this is something they had previously mentioned implementing.
Instead, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy or Deputies to manage that person’s finances on their behalf.
WHAT IS A DEPUTY?
A Deputy for property and financial affairs (previously known as a receiver) is someone appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the finances of someone who has been assessed not to have the capacity to do so themselves.
They are appointed by the Court of Protection following an application and they are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the individual who lacks capacity.
WHO CAN BE A DEPUTY?
Anyone over the age of 18 and able to manage their own financial affairs can apply to be a Deputy, however, in most cases a Deputy is usually a close relative or friend. The Court of Protection can also appoint more than one Deputy for the same person.
Paid professionals, such as solicitors, the local authority, or accountants can also be appointed as a Deputy for an individual.
In the event that there is no one suitable to act as Deputy, the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy from its own specialist panel. A Deputy on the panel is a professional (usually a solicitor) that is approved and appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian and has a wealth of experience in supporting individuals who do not have the capacity to make financial decisions.
HOW CAN SOMEONE APPLY TO BE A DEPUTY?
In order to apply to be a Deputy, an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection. The process begins with the applicant submitting a number of forms to the Court of Protection, which will include details of assets and liabilities of the individual and a medical report to determine whether the individual lacks mental capacity.
If the forms are approved, notice must be served on any persons named in the application, including the individual who lacks capacity. Subject to any further queries the Court has, it will then make a final Order appointing a Deputy or Deputies. The individual that the application concerns must be notified of the issue of the Order within 14 days.
Security is then arranged over the individual’s assets. This is a type of insurance that protects the individual’s finances and is calculated based on the value of the individual’s assets.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The application from beginning to end can take between 4 and 6 months; this is very dependent on the Court’s timeframe, workload, and whether any objections are raised.
If you require assistance with making an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy or be appointed as a Deputy, we have a specialist Court of Protection team who can assist. Our Head of Department, Michael Culver, is also a specialist Deputy listed on the Court of Protection’s list of approved Panel.