A deputyship order gives you (usually close friend or family of the person who has lost capacity) the ability to make decisions on behalf of someone who has lost the capacity to care for and make decisions for themselves. You might apply for a deputyship order when there is no lasting power of attorney (or enduring power of attorney) in place. A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be granted if the donor is considered as having capacity.
The Court of Protection’s deputyship order will set out the deputy’s powers. The powers may relate, for example, to the person’s finances, property or accommodation (including where they live or whether they go into care), their medical treatment and other healthcare issues, and their personal welfare, e.g. what clothes they wear, and anything needed for their general care and well-being. The powers given depend on the person’s needs.
A deputy must be over 18 and is often a family member or friend, although anyone can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed.
Each deputy is assessed to see what level of supervision they need from the Office of the Public Guardian. Supervision fees are payable from the funds of the person lacking capacity.
Supervision may involve ongoing support; a requirement to submit a report and accounts periodically; or a Court
Visitor checking how the deputyship is being managed.
The level of support and supervision received is regularly assessed to assist the deputy.
The proposed deputy completes a set of application forms and a suitable practitioner (e.g. the patient’s doctor) completes a medical report. There is a fee payable for the medical report and an application fee is payable to the Court. The deputy has to complete a declaration document about themselves.
You can employ a professional advisor to help you with the application and with your duties as a deputy (once appointed). Their fees can normally be recovered from the funds of the person lacking capacity.
A professional deputy can be appointed if there are no other suitable persons such as family or friends. A court hearing is not normally required, provided there is no objection to the application.
Deputies can be reimbursed reasonable and legitimate expenses, such as telephone calls, travel and postage. If these exceed £500, they may have to explain why.
A deputyship ends automatically if the person lacking capacity recovers or dies. If the person becomes able to make their own decisions, the deputyship order stays in force until it expires or is discharged by another Court order. A deputy who cannot, or does not want to, remain a deputy must apply to the Court to have their order discharged. The Court can also discharge a deputy who it believes has acted improperly, e.g. not in the person’s best interests.