Making an application to become a Deputy
It may be clear that a person needs assistance to manage their affairs, but it is too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. An application may therefore be required to the Court of Protection (COP) for a Deputy to be appointed in respect of Property and Financial Affairs.
Much the same as for Lasting Power of Attorney, it is possible to have a Deputy to deal with Property & Financial Affairs and a Deputy to deal with Health & Welfare. Most applications to the Court of Protection are in respect of Property & Financial Affairs.
Applying to be a Deputy
Before making a Deputyship application to become someone’s Deputy, you need to check that they have not made a power of attorney, whether it is an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney.
Unless a sole attorney has died or lost capacity themselves, or an attorney has been removed by the court for reasons of misconduct, the court will not overrule the wishes of the person who has lost capacity.
It may be a simple matter of checking through paperwork to find out if there is an existing power of attorney. It is also possible to check with the Office of the Public Guardian to see if a power of attorney has already been registered.
How long does it take to be appointed as a Deputy?
Applying to the Court of Protection to become someone’s Deputy is a time-consuming process, typically at least six months.
Until a final order is received you will not be able to make decisions on that person’s behalf.
Unless there are direct debits or standing orders in place, bills cannot be paid until an appointment is made. Once you are appointed as Deputy, you will be able to repay yourself for any bills that you pay from your own funds during this time. If you are unable to cover the cost of the bills, it is important that you contact the various creditors to explain the circumstances and make suitable arrangements.
Who pays the Deputyship fees?
Because of the different parties involved along the way, Deputyship applications are notoriously expensive.
Some costs, such as the cost of the medical report and the court application fee, must be paid upfront. You will need to meet these costs, but you can reimburse yourself from the funds of the person about whom the application is made once you are appointed. Other costs, such as solicitors’ fees, can often be paid once you have access to the person’s funds after a Deputyship order has been granted.
One of the major differences to becoming someone’s Deputy, rather than being their attorney, is that you will be subject to a certain level of supervision. This is particularly useful if you have never acted as a Deputy or attorney previously, as it provides some reassurance that the decisions you make are appropriate.
A Deputy must submit an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian, detailing the exact capital, income and expenditure that has taken place each year. The report does not require you to submit receipts, but you should keep these for your records as it will make completing the report much easier.
The reporting can be onerous, particularly in the first few years, but it serves to protect your loved one from any mistakes that might be made.
The Deputy will need to take out insurance annually.
If something does go wrong, such as if you were to use the person’s money in a way the order does not allow for – for example by making an unauthorised gift, a claim can then be made to pay back any lost funds to your loved one via the insurer.
The benefits of using a solicitor
If you are considering applying to become a Deputy for someone, our solicitors can help you through the application process and beyond. You may wish to consider applying for a professional Deputy to be appointed alongside you or in your place.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, costs are often reduced by appointing a solicitor to help with the application from the outset. Our team is used to making such applications, and we are aware of all the typical hiccups that might occur along the way.
Instructing a solicitor to make the application on your behalf means you can rest assured that the application process will run smoothly and that you will be appointed in the quickest time possible.
Our team can assist you in the Deputyship application process and in acting as a professional Deputy. Members of our team are Full Accredited Members of Solicitors for the Elderly and the Professional Deputies Forum and have a vast wealth of experience of dealing with Court of Protection matters.