What Is A Court Appointed Deputy?
- Written by: Jason Cherrington
- Category: Lasting Power Of Attorney, Will Writing
- Published: 12th February 2014
A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for someone who is unable to do so on their own.
They are responsible for making these decisions until either the person they’re looking after dies or is able to make decisions on their own again.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is used to work out if someone can make their own decisions and how they can be helped. The Act makes it clear who can take decisions and in which situations and clearly states how they should go about this.
Anyone who works with or cares for an adult who lacks capacity must comply with the MCA when making decisions or acting for that person.
The court of protection will not appoint a deputy if the person is considered able to make their own decisions.
If the person is considered to be able to make their own decisions under the mental capacity act then it may be possible to make a lasting power of attorney instead.
Are there different types of deputies?
Yes, there are two types of deputies. Those who look after property and financial affairs and those who look after a person’s health and welfare, it is possible for there to be more than one person appointed as a deputy to each type.
Who can act as a deputy?
All deputies must be over the age of 18. A deputy is usually a close friend or relative of the person who needs help making decisions. They could also a professional person, for example, a solicitor or accountant.
In some circumstances, if it is considered in the best interests of the person, Local authorities are often appointed as a deputy.
The Court of Protection can appoint a ‘panel deputy’ to look after someone’s financial affairs if no one else can do this. A panel deputy is someone with specialist knowledge of the mental capacity law.
What are the deputies responsibilities?
The Court of Protection informs the deputy about their powers and responsibilities and what decisions they can and cannot make, for example, decisions about a persons money or their healthcare.
A deputy must only make decisions that are in the other person’s best interests and only make the decisions the court says they can make, they must always apply a high standard of care when making decisions.
A deputy cannot make decisions for someone if the person can make the decision without their help. A deputy can however still help the person reach a decision.
A deputy cannot restrain the person unless it’s to stop them coming to harm, stop life-sustaining medical treatment, for example, turn off a life-support machine or make a will for the person, or change their existing will.
They cannot make large gifts of the person’s money or hold any money or property in their own name on the person’s behalf.
Court of Protection Supervision
The Office of the Public Guardian will supervise a deputy. There are different levels of supervision depending on the complexity and value of the estate of the person the deputy is acting for.
The court order will say that you need to make regular reports to the Office of the Public Guardian. This is to make sure you’re acting in the person’s best interest.
A deputy must keep a record of any decisions they make, for example making a major investment, changing the care a person is getting or deciding where someone should live.
Copies must be kept of any documents about decisions that have been made, for example, receipts, bank statements, letters, and reports from health agencies or social services.
You usually have to complete a deputy report once a year, using the deputy declaration form.