Ensure the right decisions are made for those you love and care for, when they are at their most vulnerable.
If you or someone you love becomes mentally incapacitated, they will need someone they trust to look after their health and wellbeing, as well as any financial or asset-related affairs. However, in some cases you won’t have time to make sure these measures have been put in place, and a deputyship has to be arranged.
At Moore Barlow, we will help you to understand the deputyship process better and provide you with expert legal advice and support whenever you need it.
What is a deputyship?
Where a power of attorney is not already in place for someone and if they no longer have the capacity to make one or they have never had this capacity, alternative measures are required. Such people are safeguarded by the Court of Protection. This involves applying to the Court of Protection to appoint someone (or more than one person) as a deputy, which will give them the authority under law to make property and finance decisions on the individual’s behalf.
If there is more than one deputy, they can act jointly (so that all named deputies have to agree on a decision for it to be made) or jointly and severally (independently of the other deputies).
What is the difference between Power of Attorney and deputyship?
The key difference is that a Power of Attorney is chosen, whereas a deputy is appointed by the court. Whilst a Power of Attorney is a trusted person that the individual in question trusts to manage their affairs, a deputyship is necessary when this has not been assigned to any one person.
What is Court of Protection deputyship?
If there is not a suitable family member, loved one, or other party that comes forward as deputy, the Court of Protection will appoint a solicitor as deputy to manage the finances, affairs, health, and welfare of the mentally incapacitated individual.
How to apply for a deputyship and how much does it cost?
In order to apply to be a deputy on a person’s behalf you must submit an application to the Court of Protection, which will then be reviewed to decide whether or not you are suitable for the role. It’s important to the court that you are looking out for the best interests of the individual in question, so you will have to provide supporting information and a declaration to prove that you can take on this role as deputy.
It costs £371 to apply to the Court of Protection for deputyship, and a further £494 if you require a hearing. That is why it is best to appoint a Power of Attorney prior.
What is a deputyship order?
If you or another individual is trusted to be a deputy for someone suffering from mental incapacity you will be given a deputyship order, a legal document which allows representatives approved by the court to manage the affairs of the incapacitated individual.
The Office of the Public Guardian is responsible for supervising deputies and there are strict guidelines within which deputies must act, as well as producing an annual report on the decisions that have been made during the period and any relevant accounts.
How long does it take to get a deputyship order?
In order for your application to be properly assessed, considering the best interests of the individual who is suffering from mental incapacity, it can take four to six months to have your deputyship order approved.
What decisions have to be made by a deputy?
The property and finance deputyship order will outline the specific decisions that the deputy or deputies have the authority to make on behalf of. For example,
- paying bills or making decisions about paying for property repairs or maintenance
- Selling or purchasing property
- Dealing with or making new investments
- Dealing with or applying for benefits
The expert team at Moore Barlow can help with property and finance deputyship applications and ongoing support and guidance when it comes to the decisions and administrating the deputyship, including assistance with annual reports.
What happens to a deputyship when someone dies?
There are a number of reasons that a deputyship may come to an end, one of which is if the individual who is mentally incapacitated passes away. When they die, their estate and inheritance is divided as planned by a solicitor or trusted loved one, in which case the deputy is no longer needed.
How can Moore Barlow help?
We have dedicated Court of Protection teams who offer truly specialist support with every aspect of decision making, working together to ensure that the necessary authority has been given to appropriate people when required, such as deputyships or Powers of Attorney.
As well as the above, we are able to advise attorneys and deputies on their obligations and responsibilities as well as advise them on the best way to carry out their duties and when they should and should not act. This includes how to decide if something is in the individual’s best interests.
We can also assist with any application that needs to be made to the Court of Protection, such as:
- the need to amend a Will or create one
- gifting applications
- selling or purchasing property and the need to appoint someone else to do so
- family care payments
Please contact Fiona Heald for advice:
- for those over 60 years old
- if an attorney or deputy is not acting correctly
- if anything that is contested at the Court of Protection
- any investigations by the Office of the Public Guardian
Please contact Rebecca Sparrow for advice for those:
- who have been affected by clinical negligence or a personal injury
Why choose Moore Barlow?
Our clients trust us to provide them with a bespoke legal service unlike any other law firm, offering a variety of services with a team of experienced specialists to assist them. You can guarantee that we will always be at the other end of the phone, ready to help you with whatever you need from us, during what is a particularly difficult time in your life.
We have offices in Southampton, Richmond, Guildford, Woking, London and Lymington and we offer specialist support to clients locally and nationally. Contact us for more information on how we can help.