Making an application to the Court of Protection can give you permission to make decisions on behalf of a family member or friend who has a ‘lack of mental capacity’, perhaps because of an illness such as dementia or a severe learning disability.
After a rigorous application process, you can become their ‘deputy’. This means the court will let you make certain financial or welfare decisions for them. To become a deputy, you’ll need to:
- Meet the criteria (which is explained in full below).
- Fill in the relevant forms and pay an application fee.
- Receive confirmation that your application is being considered.
- Tell the person you are applying to be a deputy for that you have submitted an application, and inform any other relevant people.
- Collect and submit forms from these people that confirm they are aware of your application.
- If your application has been accepted, you’ll have to pay additional fees.
- If your application requires a hearing, you’ll have to arrange your case and pay hearing fees.
This can be a strenuous process, as the paperwork can vary depending on the permissions you are applying for. The experts available through First4lawyers understand each situation is unique, andhave extensive experience helping people to secure deputyship and liaise with the Court of Protection.
Our experts can also help you make arrangements so a loved one who’s now of sound mind will have someone to take care of healthcare or finance matters if they lose the ability to make these decisions in future. This is known as lasting power of attorney, and can be set up with the help of specialist solicitors.
Get in touch for a professional consultation to learn how we can make it easier for you to be able to help a loved one. For a good overview what’s involved in applying to the Court of Protection, this guide will break down what you need to know.
What is a deputy?
A deputy can make certain decisions for someone who is unable to do so themselves. There are three types of deputy:
- Makes decisions about property and financial affairs.
- Makes decisions about personal welfare and health.
- Makes decisions about both financial affairs and welfare related factors.
Depending on the individual circumstances and limitations of the person they are acting on behalf of, a deputy will receive a court order covering the specific things they can help manage.
Who can be a deputy?
You must be aged 18 or older to be a deputy. Typically, a deputy is a close family member or friend of the person they make decisions for.
Occasionally, professionals like solicitors and accountants can be deputies. This can happen if a person doesn’t have anyone else to serve as a deputy, or if a situation needs expert input, such as the transfer of large amounts of money.
Sometimes, the court will appoint more than one deputy. Here, deputies may need to make decisions together. Alternatively, one person may have the right to make certain decisions independently, while others will need joint agreement.
What are the responsibilities of a deputy?
Deputies can only make decisions the court has allowed them to make.
All deputies are expected to act in the best interest of the person they are helping, and must apply a high standard of care to each decision. This means they should ask the person they are acting on behalf of, alongside anyone else who can give helpful input, such as medical professionals or family members.
They are also required to follow the expectations outlined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.
Deputies are not permitted to write a will on behalf of someone. They also can’t gift large amounts of money from the person they are helping.
How can I become a deputy?
Before applying to be a deputy, make sure you know about the areas you need to manage. You’ll also need to be prepared to prove the person you’re applying for is unable to make decisions themselves – this might be with a doctor’s certificate or a medical report.
- Fill out the relevant forms – These are available on the HMRC website.
- Arrange payment – You must pay a £400 fee with your application – if you’re applying to manage financial and welfare related factors, you’ll need to pay twice. You may be able to get help with the fees, depending on your circumstances.
- Send your forms – You must send two copies of your forms, along with one copy of any additional forms and a cheque for the application fee, to:
Court of Protection
PO Box 70185
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
Within seven days, you should receive a stamped copy of your form, indicating that your application is underway.
Notify others of your application – Within 14 days of receiving confirmation, you must inform the person you are applying to be a deputy for, along with any other people you have named in your application.
You should tell the person that their decision-making abilities are in question, and how having you as a deputy can help them. You must also tell them who to contact if they want to discuss the situation.
These people will need to fill out forms to acknowledge they are aware of your application, which must be sent to the Court of Protection within seven days.
- Pay the relevant fees – If your application is approved, you’ll have to pay further fees to cover additional administrative costs. If your case requires a hearing, you’ll be charged an additional £500.
What happens after I’m appointed as a deputy?
After you’ve been appointed, you’ll be given a court order that outlines what you’re able to do for the person. Welfare deputies can make decisions immediately after being appointed, and financial deputies can make decisions after paying a security bond.
You’ll need to send official copies of the court order to organisations the person is involved with, such as doctors and banks, to notify them that you’re now acting on the person’s behalf.
If your deputyship has an end date, make sure to renew it or reapply before it expires.
Deputies must also keep a written record of the things they do on behalf of the person, outlining the reasoning behind their decisions as well as making note of anyone else who may have given input.
The Office of the Public Guardian oversees the actions of deputies and will assign a certain level of supervision to the case, depending on the circumstances of the deputy and the person they are helping. In line with this, the deputy will need to turn in a report, complete with written records and paperwork outlining the details of the decisions they make, for the OPG to review.
Becoming a deputy is a highly sensitive and complicated process that has the potential to change someone’s life. Get in touch with our friendly experts, who will walk you through the process so you can take the steps to arrange a better situation for your loved ones.
Note: First4lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4lawyers’ online information alone. All details correct at time of last update.
Last updated: October 2016