What is a Deputy?
If a person (P) does not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, and if they have not appointed an attorney or there is a reason why the attorney cannot or should not act, the Court of Protection (COP) can appoint a Deputy to make decisions on P’s behalf.
The scope of the Deputy’s authority will be set out by the court, typically authorising the Deputy to manage P’s day to day finances so that P’s bills get paid and they have access to the things they need.
A Deputy may need to go back to the COP at times for specific authority to make certain decisions, for example concerning complex financial matters or on health or welfare issues such as where P should live or what care they should have. All decisions must be made in P’s best interests.
Why have a Deputy?
People in this vulnerable position need to be protected from potential abuse. A Deputy can protect P from others, in turn their actions are overseen by the Court. Deputies who breach their duties can be personally liable for losses caused and can be removed.
If a loved one cannot make decisions for themselves which need to be made or you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of abuse, if you have concerns about someone’s Attorney or Deputy, if there is family conflict or if you are a Deputy or Attorney and need advice and assistance then speak to us.
Our Health and Social Care Team give expert advice and support on capacity, decision making and authority, including COP litigation and care funding (eg NHS Continuing Healthcare). Our Wills, Probates and Estates Team specialise in Deputyship applications, supporting Deputies and COP applications, for example gift applications.
We are experts in this specialist area of law and we are here to help.