There may come a time when a loved one may lose the mental capacity to manage their affairs. When this happens, an attorney can conduct their affairs. However there are instances where there is no one appointed to perform that role, and in this case an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection.
What Is The Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a specialist Court which deals with applications on behalf of people who have lost their mental capacity and are therefore unable to manage their own affairs. The Court has the power to appoint a ‘Deputy’ to deal with property and financial affairs and in some instances the health and personal welfare of the person who is no longer able to make their own decisions. The Court works alongside the Office of the Public Guardian to oversee the general management of the affairs.
What Is A Deputy?
A person appointed by the Court to manage the affairs of someone who lacks capacity.
Who Can Act As A Deputy?
Anyone over the age of 18 years can apply to be appointed as a Deputy. The Deputy is usually a relative or a close friend of the person who lacks capacity, but a solicitor or other professional such as an accountant can also act as a Deputy if required
What Are The Responsibilities Of A Deputy?
The Court will issue an order setting out the specific powers that the Deputy has to manage the person’s financial affairs. The Deputy’s role may include maintaining a bank account, selling a property, making investments, filing tax returns, employing carers etc.
Before making any decision on the other person’s behalf, the Deputy must always consider whether they have the authority to make that particular decision. The Deputy must also consider whether the person they act for is able to make some decisions themselves and if so they should use their best endeavours to allow that person to make that decision.
There are certain things that a deputy cannot do, such as stopping life-sustaining medical treatment or making large gifts out of the person’s money. They cannot put their money or property into their own name and they cannot make a Will for the person, or make a change to their existing Will. You can, however, apply to the Court of Protection to make a Statutory Will on their behalf.
The Court closely monitors the actions of the Deputy to ensure that they are acting in the best interests of the mentally incapable person at all times. The Deputy must arrange a security bond and file an annual account for each and every year they act on behalf of that person.
Appointing A Professional Deputy
Dealing with the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian can be very time consuming and stressful and it often arises at what may be a very difficult time for you and your family.
In order to make things easier for our clients, we can act as a professional Deputy. Appointing a professional Deputy ensures that there is somebody on your side who fully understands the legal procedures. It should also give you complete confidence that the affairs will be handled properly.
How Do I Apply to the Court of Protection?
The procedures involved in making an application to the Court can be confusing and the nature of the application will determine which forms are required. In the majority of cases the following forms are required:-
- COP1 – Application Form
- COP1A – Supporting information for Property and Affairs
- COP3 – Medical Assessment (requires completion by General Practitioner)
- COP4 – Deputy Declaration
It is important that the forms are completed correctly and to know exactly what powers you need to apply for. Our Court of Protection specialists can advise you on your application and can help you fill out the forms correctly.
What Does It Cost?
The application fee to the Court of Protection is £400. There are also supervision fees that are levied on the Deputy, costs for setting up the security bond and the Solicitors Fees. For more information on costs please visit the gov.uk website.
Want More Help?
If you would like further information on making an application to the Court of Protection or about Hegarty Solicitors acting as a professional Deputy, our Court of Protection specialists are more than happy to help and can advise you on your application.