A deputy is appointed when a person lacks mental capacity and is unable to make a decisions for themselves.
The lack of capacity can arise as a result of illness or if someone suffers an accident.
If you meet the requirements of being a deputy you can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed. This involves completing an application form and paying the appropriate fee. This is something you can do yourself, though we are always happy to assist when required.
There are two types of deputy: one looks after property and financial affairs, the other deals with personal welfare. Most deputies are appointed to manage property and finances, but it’s worth remembering that you don’t need to be formally appointed as a deputy to simply look after someone’s benefits.
When you apply to become a deputy the Court of Protection will check whether the person lacking capacity actually needs a deputy to be appointed. The Court will also consider whether there are objections to your proposed appointment.
Once you have been appointed as a deputy you will receive guidance on carrying out your duties from the Office of the Public Guardian.
A deputy’s responsibilities are reasonably straightforward but a high standard of care is required. It should be remembered that mistreatment or neglect could amount to a criminal offence for which a substantial fine or even a prison sentence can be imposed.
It should also be remembered that a deputy does not have the power to make a will on behalf of the other person and nor can they change an existing one. If you find that someone’s will has been changed by a deputy and you wish to challenge it then our specialist lawyers will be able to advise.
You can also find further information about becoming a deputy at our sister website www.courtofprotectionlawyers.co.uk