Dementia, 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.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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;
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;
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.