Becoming a Court Deputy – what’s involved?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2016

It's estimated that one in three people aged over 65 will develop some form of dementia or loss of mental capacity at some point in their lives. If that were to happen to someone in your family, then someone else will have to step in and take responsibility for managing their finances and taking decisions concerning their health and welfare.

It’s estimated that one in three people aged over 65 will develop some form of dementia or loss of mental capacity at some point in their lives. If that were to happen to someone in your family, then someone else will have to step in and take responsibility for managing their finances and taking decisions concerning their health and welfare.Most people don’t consider putting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place when they have the mental capacity to do so, as they automatically assume their loved ones could step in and would be able to deal with their financial affairs and take decisions on their behalf if the need arose. However, if you lose mental capacity and haven’t made an LPA, a family member can’t automatically act for you. They would have to apply to be appointed as your Deputy in order to do so. 

Applying to the Court

Anyone wanting to assume the role of Deputy (or Guardian in Scotland) needs to apply to the Court of Protection. The Court then decides whether or not the person concerned is able to make decisions for themselves, and whether the friend or relative (and there can be two or more Deputies appointed) is an appropriate person to act on their behalf. If they approve the application, a court order will be made setting out what decisions the Deputy is allowed to take.

The Deputy may be required to report regularly to the Office of the Public Guardian to ensure that all actions taken are in the person’s best interests. If the Deputy is responsible for property and financial affairs, they may be required to provide some form of security such as a guarantee bond to cover any loss they may incur.

 

Fees payable and timescale

There is a set-up fee of £400 when an application for Deputyship is made, a Hearing fee of £500, a £100 Assessment Fee, and an annual supervision fee that can range from £35 to £320. The application process can take between three and six months.

The role of Deputy can be onerous, costly and takes time to put in place. For these reasons, we’d recommend making an LPA whilst you have the mental capacity to understand the effect of doing so. It will certainly make life simpler for your family later on. However, if you need advice on becoming a Deputy, do get in touch.

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