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Why would a person with Dementia need a Deputy?

PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS OVER 1 MONTH OLD

dementia deputyDementia, unfortunately is described as a progressive disease which means that eventually  a person will be unable to make decisions for themselves, as they lose mental capacity.

The Court of Protection is the Court that makes decisions for people who are unable to make decisions for themselves in relation to their financial affairs and in some cases their welfare decisions.

When an elderly person has Dementia, you may find that they have not made a Power of Attorney, and this is when the Court of Protection steps in.  They can appoint someone as the person’s Deputy.

 

What is Deputyship?

Deputyship is a way in which a person can be given legal permission to make certain decisions on another person’s behalf, when they lack mental capacity, and have not made a valid Power of Attorney.

A Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection, and they decide if you are suitable and what decisions you can make for the person.

Types of Deputyship

Property & Financial Affairs

This is the most common type and it allows the Deputy to make decisions about a person’s property and financial affairs, which can include;

  • Paying their bills
  • Ensuring the person receives all the benefits they are entitled to
  • Completing Tax returns
  • Investing money safely
  • Closing and opening bank accounts
  • Arranging the payment of care
  • Liaising with care services to ensure that needs are met etc.

Health & Welfare

This is a rarer Deputyship.  It allows a person to make decisions about care and medical treatment decisions, if they can’t themselves.

These are a very rare appointment, as these decisions can usually be made on a case-by-case basis by the professionals providing the care.  These professionals use their own skills and knowledge to make a “best interests” decision for the person.

The professionals usually consult family members and others that are involved with the person and consider the persons thoughts and feelings.  If you disagree with the professionals on what is in the persons best interests, then you can make an application to the Court, but there must be good and valid reasons for the Court to intervene.

Any Court application can be costly and time consuming.

Who can be a Deputy?

A Deputy can be a family member, friend or professional such as a Solicitor or accountant.

To be a Deputy you must be over 18 years of age, agree to being a deputy and be approved as suitable by the Court of protection i.e. not to have any criminal convictions or be bankrupt.

What does being a Deputy involve?

Being a Deputy is a huge responsibility.  You need to protect the persons interests and make the most of what they have.  You need to be organised and keep good records.  Being a Deputy can be complicated and time consuming, as controlling and protecting a person’s finances can be complex and challenging.

When appointed as Deputy you have to;

  • Act always in the best interests of the person
  • Not take advantage or benefit from the person
  • Not give your duties to anyone else
  • You have to be careful in the decisions that you make
  • You must respect confidentiality
  • Follow the instructions of the Court of Protection
  • Keep accurate, organised and up to date financial records
  • Keep the persons money separate from your own
  • File an annual account to the Court of Protection
  • Account to the Court of Protection for any decisions made and keep a record
  • Support the person to make their own decisions, where possible

Is a Deputy’s ability to make decisions limited?

A Deputy’s ability to make decisions is limited.  The Deputyship Order issued by the Court of Protection will explain the decisions that you can and can’t make.

The typical limits are;

  • You cannot make a decision where the person can make it themselves
  • You cannot restrain a person
  • You cannot make gifts, except in limited circumstances
  • You cannot sell or buy property without further permission from the Court.

Can a Deputy be paid?

When acting as Deputy, unless you are a professional, you cannot be paid for the services that you provide.  However, you can claim certain reasonable out of pocket expenses.  Many Deputies do not claim expenses, as it is a close personal relationship that you have acting for your relative.

Expenses that can be claimed under certain circumstances are postage costs, travel expenses but not for general visits to the person, car park tickets when attending appointments in your role as Deputy.

All expenses have to be recorded and produced to the Court of Protection each year, so they must be reasonable and allowable.

You cannot profit from acting as Deputy for a relative or friend.

If you would like to know more about making an application to be a Deputy or would like us to act as Deputy for your loved one, then please contact us on 01302 349 480.

25/08/2022

 

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