28 August 2018
Court of Protection applications
If you become unable to manage your affairs and you have not appointed someone to deal with them for you, known as an “attorney”, an application to the Court of Protection may need to be made on your behalf. Claire Bloomfield, solicitor in the wills, trusts and probate team examines the process.
You can appoint an attorney using a Lasting Power of Attorney, or you may have already appointed attorneys using their predecessor called an Enduring Power of Attorney. However, this can only be done while you still have mental capacity. If you wait too long and lose mental capacity before completing an LPA, you are no longer able to appoint an attorney. Instead, an application can be made for someone to be appointed as your deputy.
A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection and can be given authority to deal with either your property and financial affairs, your personal welfare or both, although personal welfare deputyships are unusual. The deputy is given an order appointing them which sets out what they have authority to do.
While a family member or friend can apply to become a deputy, the Court of Protection makes the final decision. This may mean that you do not end up with the person you would have chosen looking after your affairs.
The application process can take several months to complete, during which time you would not have anyone authorised to look after your affairs. There are also cost implications to consider, including the application fee of £385, additional fees if a hearing is required, an annual supervision fee, assessment fee for new deputies, and a security bond for a property and affairs deputy.
The administrative burden on deputies is far greater than on attorneys. Once appointed, the Court of Protection has an ongoing role in monitoring deputies, which is delegated to the Office of the Public Guardian. This may include a visit to ensure that the deputy is acting properly. A property and financial affairs deputy must also keep accounts of transactions made on your behalf and submit an annual report.