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If someone has lost the capacity to manage their own affairs, an application to the Court of Protection should be made to appoint a deputy. JMW’s expert solicitors can help you through the application process for you to be appointed as deputy or we can take on the role of professional deputy on your behalf.
Failing to appoint a deputy can be troublesome, especially for someone who is already vulnerable, as there will be nobody to handle their property and financial affairs, including their house, bank accounts, bills, debts and care fees.
Our expertise in this area is second to none, and we are dedicated to helping reduce the amount of stress you are burdened with at what can be a challenging time. We have extensive experience handling complex deputyship applications in situations where families are in dispute and relationships require thoughtful management.
How JMW Can Help
Our friendly, approachable solicitors are regularly appointed to assist with deputyship applications, as well as act as a professional deputy on behalf of loved ones. The team are able to speak 15 other languages between them, including Arabic, Cantonese, French, German, Hindi, Hokkien, Malayalam, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and Welsh.
The department, headed by Megan Christie-Copeland, has a great deal of experience in assisting relatives to make a successful application for deputyship, minimising the difficulties that can occur. We can also advise on the role of acting as a lay deputy, including their responsibilities and duties.
We have a recognised panel deputy, Andrew Cusworth, who is appointed on the OPG Panel of Deputies and one of only 14 acknowledged Court of Protection professional deputies across the north of England.
JMW’s Court of Protection team is also ranked in both UK Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a top firm, while several solicitors on the team are members of organisations like Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Court of Protection Practitioners Association (COPPA).
We understand you may have many questions when it comes to deputyships. That’s why we’ve put together our top FAQs to help answer any queries you may have.
What is a deputy?
A deputy is someone who must follow the principles set under the Mental Capacity Act and make best interest decisions for someone who lacks mental capacity (i.e. they are unable to make decisions for themselves when they need to).
There are two types of deputy for different types of decisions, and applications can be made for one or both types:
- Property and financial affairs; and/or
- Personal welfare deputy
When is a deputy required and how do I know if someone lacks capacity?
A deputy is needed if someone lacks the capacity to manage their property and financial affairs, and they have property or finances which need managing.
Under the Mental Capacity Act, an individual is deemed to lack capacity if they are unable to act or make decisions for themselves due to an impairment of, or disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain.
People may lose mental capacity for a number of reasons, including dementia, an age-related condition, learning difficulties or an accident resulting in a brain injury. If you are unsure whether a loved one has lost mental capacity or want to find out if they could in the future, we can help.
Who can be a deputy?
Anybody over the age of 18 can apply to be a deputy; however, it is the court’s decision who is appointed. Typically, a family member or close friend will be appointed as a lay deputy or a solicitor as a professional deputy. We do also offer to act as a joint deputy alongside a relative or friend, if required.
We can fully advise you on your options for deputyships, working with you to find the best solution.
For information on our professional deputyship services, visit our dedicated page.
To find out about lay deputyships, visit this page.
What are the responsibilities of a deputy?
Appointed deputies will be issued a court order from the Court of Protection stating what they can and cannot do. They are expected to follow the rules of the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice and a range of standards. Responsibilities include:
- Sell or purchase property and make sure it is suitably adapted for your loved one
- Enter into, manage or terminate tenancy agreements
- Keep records of accounts, receipts, bank statements, investment information, tax returns and all dealings with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Send annual returns to the Office of Public Guardian
- Arrange payments of routine bills and household accounts
- Budget for financial management and manage case flow figures
- Apply and regularly review all state benefits and care funding contributions if required
- Deal with holiday requests, purchases for specialised equipment and make sure transportation is provided and if appropriate is maintained
- Ensure essential maintenance and repairs are carried out and insurance is kept up-to-date on any property owned by your loved one
- Liaise with support workers, family members and court visitors where appropriate
- Appoint a case manager and ensure a suitable care team is in place
- Set up any therapies if required, e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy
- Work closely with family members and support networks to build strong relationships, trust and high levels of communication so they are aware of what is being done
Why should I use a professional deputy?
In some cases, the court prefers to appoint a professional deputy. This may include where there is:
- A family dispute about who should become a deputy
- A conflict of interest
- A substantial care package to put in place
- A sizeable estate to manage
- A property to sell or purchase
- Nobody willing or suitable to take on the role
In these examples, a suitable experienced professional deputy ought to be appointed.
Can you object to a deputy application?
It is possible to contest an application to the Court of Protection. As part of the process, the applicant must notify close family and friends informing them about the application. Those notified are given the opportunity to state if and why they oppose the application and what they suggest instead.
If you think it would be in your loved one’s interest that somebody else is appointed as deputy, get in touch today and we can guide you through the process.
How much does it cost and who pays?
We charge a reasonable and competitive price to make an application to the court, worked out on a time spent basis. Our fees are paid from the assets of the individual who lacks the capacity and not the person making the application or potential deputy.
Talk to Us
If you need to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy for a loved one or want to find out more about our professional deputy services, we are here to help. Contact us today on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.