Deputies may be appointed by the Court of Protection when a person no longer has mental capacity to manage their affairs themselves.
Who can be a deputy?
Deputies can either be;
- Lay deputies - a friend or family member of the person who lacks mental capacity. Lay deputies can't charge for their time spent in their duty as a deputy.
- Professional deputies - a professionally employed person who has expertise in deputy management and financial management. A professional deputy has the same responsibilities as a Lay Deputy.
Can a lay deputy sell property?
Lay-deputies may not be aware of the potential difficulties of selling a person’s property. Although this is a common task for deputies to become involved in. The Court of Protection and professional legal bodies have produced new guidance confirming the steps and issues for deputies to consider when selling property.
What is the process of deputies selling property?
The guidance confirms that deputies, and the Court, must ensure that any sale of property is in the person’s best interests. Which is of course the guiding principle for any deputy.
Where the person is moving into a care home, the Court must also be provided with information regarding any potential deprivation of the person’s liberty. This is because the person will no longer have the option of returning to their own home.
Deputies should not assume that the person lacks capacity to make decisions regarding their property. A capacity assessment is therefore key when making decisions as a deputy.
Deputies should look into options to meet the person’s care fees while a property sale is pending. It may be possible for a potential deputy to act as the person’s appointee for benefits and/or have an interim Court order allowing access to certain funds, while the full deputyship application is ongoing.
A further property trustee may need to be appointed where the person owns a property jointly. In this instance deputies should consider whether an additional application is required. The Court has produced helpful guidance notes to specifically cover this point.