Professional v non-professional Court of Protection Deputy – is it worth the cost?

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A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to look after a person’s financial affairs or welfare. Being a deputy is an important role and can carry many onerous duties and responsibilities. Any potential deputy therefore needs to ask themselves;

Do they have the time and relevant experience to manage someone else’s property and financial affairs or welfare?

Are they willing and able to complete annual reports to the Court of Protection and keep an ongoing record of all transactions and decisions they make?

Even if you are someone’s spouse, child, relative or friend, it does not necessarily mean that you are the best person for the job or indeed that you are under a duty to take on this role. Recently I have had a few clients who have instructed me to complete the annual report form on their behalf as they have found it both too complicated and time consuming to do themselves.

Many clients often comment that they wish they had perhaps considered appointing a professional deputy in the first instance as they did not realise the level of responsibility and how time consuming the role would be. Therefore in practice, it may sometimes be more time and cost efficient to actually have a professional appointed as the deputy from the outset. This often depends on the complexity of the person’s financial affairs and their personal circumstances.

One of the main reasons people are put off appointing a solicitor to take on this role is that they believe it will be very costly. However, as we act as professional deputies for many clients, we can offer a streamlined and organised management approach, often meaning that the ongoing costs are not significant. We can also provide an objective approach to the management of an individual’s affairs, whereas in some cases family members are unable to do so.

The Court of Protection and Senior Courts Office have in fact just released a good practice guidance to help professional deputies when submitting costs to the Court and to ensure that they are acting accordingly and always taking into consideration the best interests of the client. The guidance clearly sets out that that any professional deputy who does not follow the published guidance will be expected to explain the reason for their actions to the Court. The Court can then take action and remove a deputy if they believe they are not acting in the client’s best interest.

Should you require any further information, please contact Jennifer Wilkinson in our Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts Department on freephone 0800 975 2643 or send any question via our online contact form.

Further information regarding the recently published guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications.

Jennifer Wilkinson

About Jennifer Wilkinson

Jennifer Wilkinson is an Associate Solicitor within the Wills, Probate, Trusts and Tax Department at Forbes Solicitors. Jennifer’s blogs cover her specialisms of Will writing, dealing with the administration of estates, paying for care, powers of attorney and court of protection issues. Jennifer is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and specialises in matters specifically relating to elderly clients.
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