Professional Deputyship Services
What is a deputy and why appoint one?
Where an individual is not capable of making certain decisions for themselves they are deemed to lack ‘capacity’ in that area. In that case the Court of Protection can appoint a deputy to make those decisions which the client lacks the capacity to make.
A deputy is responsible for making decisions for someone until either the person they are looking after dies, is able to make decisions on their own again, or until someone else takes over as deputy.
The appointment is made to afford the deputy with a sufficient amount of authority so that they can make determinations without the need to defer to the Court each time a decision needs to be made, as this would be time consuming, expensive and could result in unnecessary and potentially damaging delays to the client. However, a deputy has a wide range of legal and moral responsibilities towards the client and therefore, despite not involving the Court each time a decision is made, a deputy will need to carefully consider all of the available information, as well as follow certain principles, when they act on the client’s behalf.
What types of deputyship are there?
There are two distinct areas within the Court of Protection where a deputy can be appointed to act: either in relation to a person’s property and financial affairs or their personal health and welfare.
There can be more than one person appointed as deputy for each type, or one deputy can be appointed to look after both aspects of the client’s life (although this is not very common).
A property and affairs deputyship appointment is more common because the issues tend to be fairly straightforward, less subjective and more suited to a general power of management and administration. Health and welfare deputyship orders can be, and are, made but these are less common because often the issues involved are more complex and they can often be the subject of intense disagreement, usually involving family members but also including the local authority, NHS and other third party professionals.
We act as professional deputies under both types of Order, but more commonly in relation to a person’s property and affairs.
A health and welfare deputyship may be required to enable a deputy to make general welfare decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf which do not justify an application to Court on every occasion. These decisions will usually relate to routine medical treatment, the administration of medication and matters relating to general day to day living. Where a more important welfare decision needs to be made, including issues relating to the contact a client has with family members or friends, where that person may live and what serious medical treatment or care they may receive, an application will still generally need to be made to the Court seeking an order or declaration.