When is a deputyship order needed?
Posted on 19th December 2018
There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA); one for your property and financial affairs, and one for your health and welfare.
You can only put LPAs in place if you have capacity to appoint your attorney(s).
If you haven’t put LPAs in place and lose capacity to make these decisions, then someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
This will allow them to manage your affairs, but you won’t be able to say who you want the Court to appoint.
Property and financial matters
An application can be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a ‘deputy’ to manage your finances. Applications can be made by a relative, a friend, or a legal professional, for example.
The person making the application will be expected to know about your financial situation. They will need to provide the Court with professional confirmation that you no longer have capacity to make your own decisions and Court fees will need to be paid.
Once the application is issued this person will need to tell people with an interest in your financial affairs, and others included in the Court’s guidance, so that they can respond.
The person the Court appoints will be expected to act in your best interests. When making this decision the Court will consider a number of things, including:
• your past and present wishes
• how your beliefs and values might affect your decisions, if you still had capacity to make them
• other factors that you might be likely to consider
• the views of others involved in your care.
Once appointed, your deputy will have similar powers to someone you might have made your attorney, if you had an LPA. What they can do will be described in a deputyship order.
Health and welfare
An application would also need to be made to the Court of Protection if you need help with your health and welfare, but no longer have the capacity to appoint an attorney.
However, the Courts rarely appoint deputies for personal welfare. Normally decisions about your day-to-day care and treatment can be made without the need to appoint a deputy. However, in some difficult cases, where family members disagree with medical advice for example, the Court might need to be involved.
How long does it take to obtain deputyship order?
If there aren’t any objections to an application and the Court is satisfied that the proposed deputy will act in your best interests, a deputyship order could be made in four months (sometimes it is a lot longer).
However, if there are objections, a judge will need to make a decision about who to appoint as your deputy and their responsibilities. This will take longer and will add extra costs to the process. A contested application could take six months, or longer, depending on the issues.
By putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place you can choose who you want to act on your behalf. You can be sure your wishes are clear, and your attorneys will know what to do when you need their help.
To find out more about LPAs, please contact us.
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