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There are many reasons why someone might not be able to manage their own financial affairs or make informed choices about their health and welfare. They might suffer from a degenerative condition or have physical or mental illnesses which affect their ability to make these important decisions.
In these cases, it might be necessary to appoint a Deputy, who will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the individual when it comes to things like their finances, property and issues regarding health and welfare. It is usually a close friend or family member who applies to become a Deputy, but it can also be a professional. Deputyships require an application being made to the Court of Protection; each case is reviewed by a specialist judge. A court order makes the Deputyship legally binding and enables the necessary decisions to be made on behalf of the vulnerable person.
A deputyship is where a person (known as a Deputy) is appointed to make decisions on behalf of someone who does not have the mental capacity to manage their own property and financial affairs or health and welfare decisions. A court order is required for a Deputy to act.
The Court of Protection deputyship needs to be applied for in the specific areas that decisions need to be made, as there are different types, depending on the circumstances. Deputyships are applied for when the individual has been assessed as not being capable of making specific types of decisions.
There are currently two forms of Court of Protection deputyships. These are:
Deputyship for property and financial affairs, which is sometimes called the Deputyship for finances. This will enable the Deputy to make important decisions concerning the vulnerable person's finances or property e.g. selling a property that is no longer needed to help pay for the individual's care or accessing state benefits on their behalf.
Deputyship for personal welfare, often referred to as the deputyship for health and welfare. The types of decisions that might need to be made with a health and welfare deputyship are things such as the types of healthcare the individual should receive and where they should live, especially if they need to move into assisted or care accommodation.
To become someone's deputy, you firstly need to meet the eligibility criteria. This means you:
A Deputy is usually, but not always, a relative or close friend of the person who lacks capacity. If it is appropriate, the Court of Protection may appoint a professional as Deputy, such as solicitors, accountants or local authority representatives.
If you are eligible and willing to become an individual or joint-Deputy for someone who needs help with making decisions, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection, who will assess the application and then make a decision on the appointment.
The deputyship application timescales can vary, depending on the circumstances, but the process usually takes approximately six months.
Forbes Solicitors can help with every aspect of becoming a Deputy. Whether that is assistance with the application process or deputyship guidance when it comes to making decisions in the individual's best interests. With a Court of Protection health and welfare deputyship, we can offer the benefit of our experience when it comes to helping you manage the personal welfare needs of the individual.
Making decisions on someone else's behalf can be very difficult and some people find it quite stressful especially at first. Our team of experienced and compassionate solicitors can provide the expert advice that you need, along with practical advice on things such as:
If you're considering applying for a deputyship and want to find out more about the process or want assistance with your application, get in touch with our team by calling 0800 975 2463.