Our team of specialist Court of Protection lawyers provide a wealth of advice and assistance in situations where individuals act as deputy for a loved one. Acting as deputy can be a daunting and time consuming process. The team at Hugh James have vast experience in advising and assisting deputies, particularly in relation to the following areas:
- Application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Lay Deputy
- Specific Applications to the Court of Protection
- The on-going responsibilities of a deputy
Free guide to Deputyship Applications
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What is a deputy?
A deputy is an individual appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions in relation to the property and financial affairs or the health and welfare of an individual who is assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make decisions in relation to these themselves.
What are the different types of deputy?
There are two types of deputy who can be appointed by the Court of Protection:
Property and Financial Affairs Deputy
This is the most common type of deputyship and enables the deputy to make decisions in relation to an individual's property and financial affairs.
A property and financial affairs deputy will take responsibility for managing the day to day finances of an individual, as well as the investment of their funds and management of any property held.
Our specialist team act as professional property and financial affairs deputy for individuals with large complex damages settlements, as well as making applications to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a non-professional deputy where this is appropriate.
Personal Welfare Deputy
A personal welfare deputy makes decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after. It is normally not suitable for someone outside of the family to have this responsibility, other than at times an Independent Social Worker, or Local Authority.
A personal welfare deputy cannot refuse life-prolonging treatment and will only be appointed in very specific circumstances. Unless there are a number of connected decisions to make the court will often prefer to make decisions as they arise rather than appoint a personal welfare deputy.
Our team can discuss the appointment of a personal welfare deputy with you in more detail should you have queries about this.
What is the difference between a deputy and an attorney?
The role of a Deputy is very similar to the role of an Attorney under an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is set up by an individual before they lose capacity. It allows the individual to confirm who they would like to manage their property and financial affairs in the event that they lose capacity in the future.
If a Lasting Power of Attorney is not in place and an individual lacks capacity to manage their property and financial affairs then a Deputy is required.
Hugh James has a dedicated asset management team, who can advise you on appointing a Power of Attorney. Visit the Asset Management page for more information.
When is a property and financial affairs deputy required?
A deputy needs to be appointed if an individual lacks the required capacity to make decisions in respect of their own property and financial affairs and they do not have a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney in place. The individual will lack capacity because of an impairment of or disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain.
The issue of capacity is governed by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Someone lacking mental capacity, due to illness, accident or disability is unable to do one or more of the following four things:
- Understand information given to them about a particular decision, to include the consequences of making a decision one way or another or of not making a decision.
- Retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision.
- Weigh up the information available to make the decision.
- Communicate their decision.
Before an application is made to appoint someone as deputy for an individual, a capacity assessment needs to be undertaken by a medical practitioner to confirm that the individual lacks capacity to make decisions in relation to their property and financial affairs.
The Court of Protection general order appointing a deputy will confirm the extent of the deputy's powers to manage the property and financial affairs. Any decision which falls outside these powers will need to be decided by the Court Of Protection.
Why work with us?
- Our approach is unique. Our team is multi-faceted including not only legal experts but experts in social care and accountancy, allowing us to consider our client's best interests taking into account much more than just the legal point of view.
- The team has a nationwide reputation for its deputyship work covering the whole of the UK with offices in Cardiff and London.
- The team is recommended nationally by independent directories, Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for their court of protection work with Hugh James being noted to field a team of ‘exceptional and approachable lawyers’ that includes Andrew Harding, who ‘takes a real interest in all of his clients’.
- The team currently manages the affairs of over 130 individuals with total assets, to include property and large investment portfolios, exceeding £150 million.
- Andrew Harding is particularly highly regarded in this field having first been appointed as a receiver nearly 20 years ago.
- Andrew is currently a member of the Court of Protection Court Users Group in London and is also a member of COPPA. Andrew was a member of the Court of Protection Deputies Forum which provided input leading to the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. He is a Board Member of Headway.
- The Brain Injury team at Hugh James is approved as brain injury solicitor by Headway UK, the Child Brain Injury Trust, and the Brain Injury group.