When a loved one loses the capacity to make decisions regarding their own welfare, it is vital to ensure their best interests are properly represented.
The Court of Protection can appoint a personal welfare deputy to assist vulnerable people in making decisions that affect their wellbeing.
Applications to become a welfare deputy have a high rate of rejection, so it is important to seek professional advice before presenting your case. The Court of Protection solicitors available from First4lawyers can guide you through this process and help you to act in the best interests of your loved one.
According to some statistics, between 2007 and 2013 there were just 743 welfare deputies appointed, in contrast to 82,580 property deputyships. Which highlights just how tough it can be to be granted a welfare deputyship.
Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion to better understand your situation and how we can help.
What is a welfare deputy?Welfare deputies make decisions about medical treatment, housing and care on behalf of people who do not have the capacity to make those choices for themselves.
The Court of Protection can appoint welfare deputies under Section 16 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, although appointments are relatively rare. In cases where an individual does not have the capacity to make decisions regarding their own welfare it is more common for the court itself to make one-off decisions, and deputy orders are only issued in the most difficult cases.
Decisions commonly handled by the court rather than a deputy include:
- The delivery of care and medical treatment.
- Admission to a residential home.
- Decisions to address conflicting input of family members on health and welfare issues.
The court will tend to seek to appoint a welfare deputy only in cases where there is no other way of settling the matter in the best interest of the vulnerable individual.
Who can become a welfare deputy?
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to be a deputy. The court will take into account your relationship with the individual you wish to be a deputy for, and will typically seek to appoint people who do not have a personal connection with the vulnerable individual.
An example might be when an individual has no close family and is suffering from dementia. To ensure the individual’s best interests are served, the court might appoint a deputy due to the large number of welfare-related decisions that would otherwise have to be referred to the court.
Family members can become welfare deputies, but it is important that the application forms are completed very carefully in order to demonstrate suitability for the role.
Again, most applications to become a welfare deputy are rejected on the basis that the applicant is too closely involved in the life of the vulnerable individual, and might have a vested interest in decisions made on their behalf.
What are the costs involved in deputyship?
An initial application fee of £400 must be paid to the courts when you apply to be a welfare deputy, and a further £500 fee must be paid if the court decides that your application requires a court hearing to determine your suitability for the role.
If the court deems that you are suitable and appoints you, you will need to pay a £100 assessment fee as a new deputy, and an annual supervision fee of up to £320 per year, depending on how much supervision the court decides that you will need. These fees are to cover the court’s costs.
Deputies can claim reimbursements for expenses incurred as part of their role, but records must kept of all expenses so that the court can determine the validity of any claims, and supporting statements may have to be approved by a legal professional before expenses can be claimed.
I need to apply to become a welfare deputy – what should I do?
The first step to becoming a welfare deputy involves completing a number of forms and sending them to the Court of Protection for approval.
The process of applying to be a welfare deputy is long and intricate, involving the completion of an application form, an assessment of capacity form, a deputy’s declaration, and an information form relating to the type of deputy you are applying to become.
The Court of Protection solicitors at First4lawyers can guide you through certain protocols that must be upheld throughout the application process.You can contact us to get started today, beginning with a discussion of your specific circumstances. From there, we can appoint you with a solicitor whose skills and experience are tailored to your needs, and who will be able to give you the best possible chance of success in your application.