Appointment of a deputy
Deputies are appointed by the court of protection to manage the property and affairs and/or health and welfare of individuals who lack mental capacity to make decisions themselves. A deputy is usually a friend or relative of the person who lacks capacity but in some circumstances the deputy could be a professional such as a solicitor or accountant. Deputies must be 18 years or older and be willing to accept their position.
There are two types of deputy:
- property & affairs; &
- health & welfare.
A property and affairs deputy must have the skills, knowledge and commitment to carry out the effective management of the financial affairs of the person who lacks capacity. The deputy will also have to assure the court that there is nothing that makes their appointment inappropriate, for example he/she must not have severe financial or health problems themselves.
A health and welfare deputy is less common. If a person lacks capacity to make decisions about their health and welfare and has not made a lasting power of attorney then a friend or relative can make an application to the court to become the person’s health and welfare deputy. The court does not however, usually appoint deputies to make decisions about a person’s health and welfare unless no resolution can be reached between the family and health care professionals of the person concerned. It is therefore, very important to make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney if you want a friends or relative to have specific power to make such decisions on your behalf.
A deputy application is, however, usually the last resort. The application process itself can be very lengthy indeed it can take many months before the court will grant the order. It is also a very expensive process which can be avoided entirely by making a lasting power of attorney.
For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you either in our office or in your own home to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.