What does deputyship mean?
Deputyship is the appointment of deputies by the Court of Protection, for the purposes of acting in the best interests of a person who is incapable of making decisions for themselves.
Similar to a Power of Attorney, there are two types of deputyships:
- A property and financial affairs deputy who can take care of a person’s financial interests such as bills, insurances and pensions
- A personal welfare deputy who can make decisions about medical treatment and care
When would you apply to be a deputy?
If a person is unable to make decisions for themselves due to a lack of mental capacity and they do not have a power of attorney in place, you can apply to become their deputy.
Examples of where a person may lack mental capacity include where a person:
- Has developed brain injury due to an injury or illness
- Has a degenerative mental illness such as dementia
- Has severe learning disabilities
Can anyone become a deputy?
To apply to become a deputy, you must be aged 18 or over and if applying to become a property and affairs deputy, you must possess the relevant skills to be able to competently make decisions on behalf of someone else.
Deputies are usually relatives or close friends. However, it is possible to pay a person you trust such as an accountant or solicitor to become a deputy.
Can there be more than one deputy?
There can be more than one deputy for the same person. If there is more than one deputy, the Court of Protection will decide whether decisions will need to be made jointly where all deputies agree, or jointly and severally, which means that deputies would be able to make some decisions without consulting the other deputies.
Your responsibilities as a deputy
There are certain responsibilities that you must adhere to as a deputy. These include:
- To maintain an insurance bond to protect the value of the assets that you are managing in property and affairs deputyships
- To produce an annual report for the Office of the Public Guardian * (OPG) outlining reasons for the decisions that you have made in the best interests of the person you are a deputy for.
* The Office of the Public Guardian is an administrative department of the Court which assists in the general running of deputyships and related matters.
How to make decisions as a deputy
You must make a note of each decision you make as a deputy, in your annual report to the OPG. When making a decision, you must ensure that you take the following into consideration:
- Whether the decision is being made in the person’s best interests
- Whether a similar action has been taken by the person in the past
- Whether advice from other relatives is required
- Whether advice from professionals is required
- Whether the person is able to understand the decision and give any indication of whether it is preferable to them or not
Decision making as a property and affairs deputy
As a property and affairs deputy specifically, you must ensure that the following is upheld:
- You must keep records of the finances that you have managed in your annual report to the OPG
- Your own personal property and finances must be kept separately to the person you are deputy for
Failure to take any of the above into consideration could result in you being fined.
Please note that Personal Welfare deputies are harder to obtain than those relating to property and financial affairs. We can advise you more on these at an initial meeting.
How to apply to become a deputy
You can apply to become both types of deputy for a person, or either a property and financial affairs deputy or a personal welfare deputy, separately.
For details about the application process involved in becoming a deputy, see our Court of Protection page.
Costs involved in applying to become a deputy
There is a £385 application fee which must be sent in with the application to the Court of Protection. If the court decides that your case requires a hearing, there will be an additional cost of £500. A deputy assessment fee of £100 applies, as does an annual supervision fee, which is usually £320.
Our fee for assisting your with a Court of Protection application is fixed by the Court at £950 plus VAT and disbursements.
For more information about the exact fees that your deputyship application is likely to entail, contact one of our deputyship experts.
When does a deputyship end?
A deputyship will be permanent unless you change or cancel your court order. If you do not wish to be a deputy any longer, you will need to fill out a form and send this to the Court of Protection to confirm your wishes. You will need another court order from the Court of Protection to confirm that you can cease your responsibilities as a deputy.
If the person that you are a deputy for dies, you will need to inform the OPG of this and send them a copy of the person’s death certificate.
How we can help with the deputyship process
Our solicitors are experts in helping people who wish to apply to become deputies. We understand how difficult the situation is and make sure that the application process is completed as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
Our role as deputyship experts involves the following:
- Gathering the relevant information to make the initial application
- Keeping the application process on track throughout
- Offering guidance and continuing support for people acting as deputies if they require this
Specialist legal advice about deputyships
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors, based across all three of our offices, are experienced experts in making applications to the Court of Protection. For advice and assistance on deputyship applications, contact your local specialist solicitor using the contact details below:
Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.
Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.
Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.
Contact details for the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
Telephone: 0300 456 0300
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am – 5pm
- Wednesday from 10am to 5pm