Deputyships / Court of Protection
If a person loses the mental capacity to make decisions, and does not have either an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then a Deputy usually needs to be appointed by the Court of Protection to make those decisions on their behalf. The Deputy can make decisions regarding the individual’s property and finance, health and welfare, or both.
The Deputy can be a relative, close friend, professional or someone who otherwise has an interest in the individual. As the individual can no longer make this decision the Court ultimately decides who is the most suitable person to be appointed. Any views expressed by the individual before they lost capacity will be taken into account along with other factors, such as the complexity of the individual’s affairs, the closeness of the proposed Deputy and the professional skills of the proposed Deputy.
A Deputy must act in the best interests of the individual at all times and make decisions for the individual’s benefit.
Whilst the Court is often minded to make an application in relation to an individual’s property and finances, Deputyship Orders for a person’s health and care are comparatively rare. Such orders are usually only made in the most complex or unusual of cases. The Court is more likely to issue a specific Order in relation to a particular issue or specific element of a person’s health and care.
An application for a Deputyship Order can be fairly lengthy and time-consuming. Once the application for a Deputyship Order has been made, provided there are no objections and the Court agrees with the proposed Deputy, the Order may be issued in approximately 6 months’ time. This could be longer if the case is particularly complex, or if there are objections, and is subject to the Court’s capacity and workload. In some cases it can take up to a year for the final Order to be issued.