The person you care for may lack mental capacity if they have dementia, severe learning disabilities or have had a brain injury. You must be at least 18 years old to become a deputy. If there is no one suitable to become a deputy a legal professional can also to take on the duty.
What is a deputy?
Becoming a deputy is when someone applies to the Court of Protection to legally take care of health, wellbeing and financial matters for a person who ‘lacks mental capacity’. A deputy may be required if a person cannot physically or mentally make decisions for themselves and it usually occurs if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 explains the rights deputies have.
You might need to become a deputy for the person you care for so you can help them if they have financial arrangements in place but can’t make decisions and choices for themselves. Alternatively, you might care for someone who has a mental illness that means they are unaware of the value of money and may become vulnerable in certain situations.
There are two different types of deputyship
- Property and affairs deputyship - This is the most common form and allows you to make decisions about finances and property management. Key responsibilities may include managing bank accounts and financial matters, paying bills, care fees or filing tax returns, claiming required benefits, arranging investments, buying or selling property, or ensuring the person has enough money for their everyday needs.
- Personal welfare deputyship - This type of deputyship can help you make health and welfare decisions on behalf of the person you care for, including decisions about whether or not they should go into care.
How to apply to be deputy
You may find the application process daunting. It takes around 16 weeks but it could take longer if your situation is complicated. You need to complete the correct forms and make sure you do things in the right order, and at the right time.
It is a good idea to get legal advice so you get guidance throughout your application.
Which forms do I need to complete?
See apply to be a deputy on Gov.uk for a full list of all the forms you need to complete.
You will need to send medical evidence which supports the fact the person you care for no longer has mental capacity and this is usually done by their GP or suitable medical practitioner. Make sure you keep a copy of every form that’s been filled in as evidence.
You will need to pay an application fee of £400 when you send your application to the Court of Protection. For more information see deputyship fees on Gov.uk.
After you’ve applied
You need to tell the person you want to be a deputy for about the hearing (at court) that will make the decision about the deputyship. You also need to tell anyone else that is involved, such as family members.
There are forms you need to complete and give to them, and this needs to be done at a certain time in the application process. See after you've applied on Gov.uk
Once you are appointed as a deputy
You will be sent a court order telling you what you can and can’t do as a deputy.
You must also write an annual report which outlines completed duties and what has been carried out on behalf of the person you care for. This will include any financial decisions you have made or justification about why your decisions were in the best interest of the person who lacks mental capacity. You will also be supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Ending your deputyship
If you want to stop being a deputy you must complete a COP1 application notice. If the person recovers or dies , or if the Court Order expires, then your deputyship will end automatically. See ending your deputyship on Gov.uk.
Thanks to Forbes Solicitors for writing this page for us.
Next update due: June 2017