Do you have a loved one who has lost the mental capacity to deal with their own affairs? Do they need someone to make decisions for them and ensure that their affairs are properly managed? If the person does not have a Power of Attorney in place, you might be wondering who can make decisions for them.
When a person loses mental capacity, they cannot usually put a Power of Attorney in place. Instead, in order to appoint someone to make decisions for them, an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy.
Deputyships essentially act as the alternative to attorneyships once the person is no longer able to choose and appoint an attorney themselves. The Court’s involvement provides an extra layer of protection for the vulnerable person by helping to ensure that the most appropriate deputy is chosen.
Deputies have similar powers to attorneys, although there are more stringent requirements in terms of ongoing supervision and reporting. Again, this is to safeguard the vulnerable person as they have not been able to choose the deputy themselves.
There are two forms of deputyships, one for health and personal care and one for property and financial decisions. Depending on the person’s situation, it is possible to apply to become a deputy in relation to one or both of these options. The application process and ongoing duties are slightly different for each.
Becoming a deputy is not always a straightforward process and can be costly and time consuming. For this reason, we would recommend putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place ahead of time, to give you peace of mind. This means that if you do need assistance with your affairs in the future, someone is already appointed to help you.
The process of applying to become a deputy and then navigating the deputyship role can be challenging, especially if you have not managed another person’s affairs before. Tozers’ specialist Vulnerable Clients team can assist with making deputyship applications, provide ad-hoc advice regarding specific issues posed by the role or even act as a professional deputy in certain circumstances, for instance if the person’s affairs are especially complex.
How can Tozers help?
For help and advice please contact our dedicated Safeguarding Vulnerable Clients team, they will be happy to help.