Professional legal advice to help with important decisions on behalf of a loved one
If you are in a situation where the health of a loved one is deteriorating and you have not been appointed Lasting Power of Attorney, you will need to make an application for Deputyship. Our Court of Protection solicitors understand that this responsibility can be overwhelming and will advise you on the best solution.
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What is a Deputy?
A powers of attorney appoints a trusted person to manage the assets and day-to-day life of someone who lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves. However, if an attorney is not appointed, then the Court of Protection can appoint a deputy to look after finance and welfare matters, much like an attorney. The powers of a deputy will be determined by the Court of Protection. We can help you to make a deputyship application.
A deputy is usually a relative, close friend or someone such as a solicitor or accountant. Although anyone can apply for deputyship, they have to be over the age of 18 and the application generally take six to eight months to complete. Obtaining legal advice is recommended for guidance of the process.
What Can a Deputy Decide?
As previously mentioned, a deputy is usually appointed to manage a person’s finances and property and personal welfare, depending on the individual. Personal welfare includes decisions on aspects such as medical care and social care. Multiple deputies may be appointed to take responsibility for each area.
You and any other deputy must act in the best interests of the person who is no longer able to make decisions. This is done under the five principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This was introduced for the safeguarding of those who lack mental capacity. The five principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 are:
- Always assume someone has capacity, unless it is proven otherwise
- Take all possible steps to ensure someone can make a decision on their own
- Do not assume lack of capacity because someone’s decision seems unwise
- Always act, or decide, for a person without capacity in their best interests
- Carefully consider options to ensure the least restrictive option is taken
If there are any disputes over a decision, they can be referred to the Court of Protection and a decision will then be made.
Monitoring of Court Appointed Deputies
The Office of the Public Guardian monitors the performance of Deputies. Each Deputy has to complete an annual report using the Deputy Declaration Form. The Deputy Declaration Form asks for details of decisions that have been made during the past year, and the steps that have been taken to involve the person lacking capacity in the decision making process. Property and Affairs Deputies also have to provide detailed information about financial transactions. If you are appointed as a Deputy, you should therefore keep detailed records, including your own notes and copies of any documents relating to decisions you have made, including bank statements, receipts and invoices, and any letters or reports.
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How Can Switalskis Help Me?
Our Court of Protection team are knowledgeable, friendly and committed to ensuring every decision is made in the best interests of you or anyone who lacks capacity. Our team includes nationally recognised solicitors, who are strong supporters of mental health and social care charities and organisations.