What is Deputyship?

If a person loses the ability (‘mental capacity’) to make decisions for themselves they may need someone to make decisions on their behalf. They may become less able to make decisions such as where they will live or what medical treatment they want. They may also become unable to manage their financial affairs.

Some people will already have plans in place for a time in the future when they cannot make their own decisions. They may have set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). However, if they haven’t done this, and you need to make certain decisions on their behalf, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become Deputy. The application is only the beginning of a longer process. If you do become someone’s Deputy, there are continuing duties and responsibilities that you will be expected to carry out in the future. 

What is a Deputy?

A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. A Deputy is usually a friend or relative of the person who lacks capacity, but in some circumstances, it could be a professional.

Professional Deputies will charge for their time, and their fees are normally paid out of the person’s finances. To become a Deputy, you must be at least 18 years of age and agree to your appointment. It is possible for a person to have two or more Deputies. The Court of Protection will tell you how to make decisions if you are not the only Deputy.

What are the types of Deputyship?

There are two types of deputyship available: one which deals with your Property and Financial and another which deals with your Personal Welfare:

Property and Financial Deputyship 

A property and financial deputyship is used to manage a person’s financial affairs. Usually, the court will not appoint a deputy if the person has already appointed an attorney to manage their financial affairs. If a person has no property or savings and their only income is from benefits, there will usually be no need for a deputy to be appointed. This is because the benefits can be managed by an ‘appointee’ – a person appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Personal Welfare Deputyship

If the person lacks capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment and has not appointed an attorney, you can apply to become their personal welfare deputy. Deputies for personal welfare are rare as decisions regarding these issues can usually be made in the person’s best interests by those providing care or treatment. However, if there is a disagreement as to what is in the person’s best interests, or the decision relates to serious medical treatment, it may be necessary to ask the court to intervene. The Court of Protection does not usually appoint deputies to make ongoing decisions about someone’s health and welfare unless they need regular treatment or supervision.

What are the duties of a Deputy?

  • act in the person’s best interests;
  • act with due care and skill (known as ‘duty of care’);
  • not take advantage of the situation of the person (known as ‘fiduciary duty’);
  • not delegate your duties unless authorised to do so in the deputyship order;
  • act in good faith;
  • respect the person’s confidentiality; and
  • comply with the directions of the Court of Protection.
  • keep accounts; and
  • keep the person’s money and property separate from your own.

Contact us today for a no obligation appointment to discuss making a Deputyship application.