What is a Deputyship?
We always encourage our clients to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney when reviewing their general affairs. However, what happens to a person if they lose capacity and they do not have a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney?
Often the only way for a person to receive assistance with their finances at this stage is via a Deputyship.
What is a Deputyship?
A Deputyship is a power granted by the Court of Protection by way of a First General Order, more commonly known as a Deputyship Order. This Order will give authority for an appointed person, or people, to assist the person who lacks capacity with the management of their Property and Financial Affairs.
Who might need a Deputyship?
If a person is assessed as not retaining the capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, and who does not already have a Power of Attorney in place, a Deputyship Order may be required to allow their property and financial affairs to be administered for their benefit.
How might a Deputyship help someone?
A Deputy will be able to assist in managing the person’s bank accounts, pay for their care and other outgoings, deal with their benefits and pensions, and, in some cases, sell their property.
Who can be a Deputy?
Deputies are often family members or friends of a person without capacity, though some professionals and companies, including Rix & Kay, can act as professional deputies. Deputies must be over the age of 18, and have the requisite skills to make financial decisions. The Court of Protection will require some financial information about each prospective deputy, such as whether they have their own bank account, if they have ever been refused credit, been convicted of a criminal offence or if they have ever been subject to bankruptcy. Prospective Deputies with a positive financial history have more success of being appointed than those who have suffered monetary management problems in the past.
Can you make a Deputyship for Health & Welfare?
Deputyship applications for Property and Finances are by far the most common, though it is possible to make applications to the Court of Protection for Health & Welfare matters. However, unlike with Lasting Powers of Attorney, there is no Deputyship which grants a general authority over all aspects of Health & Welfare decisions. Health & Welfare Deputyships are only available for specific decisions, such as, for example, whether someone should be resuscitated or to decide where someone should live.
How do I become a Deputy for someone?
A person can only become a deputy by way of a formal application to the Court of Protection. An application to the Court can take 6-9 months, and family members and/or close friends will need to be notified of the application. The person the application is about will also need to be formally assessed as lacking capacity by a professional such as a GP or social worker.
What fees and costs are involved in a Deputyship Application?
The application for a Deputyship can be complex and lengthy and professional fees will vary depending on the complexity of a person’s finances and personal circumstances. There are also various costs throughout the application process, including the Court of Protection application fee (£365) and any medical practitioner’s capacity assessment fees (usually between £100 – £500)
Deputyship applications and insurance bond requirements
As well as the costs outlined above, a Deputyship application also requires the setting up of an insurance bond to protect the incapacitated person’s financial capital. The cost of the insurance premium is means tested and can be as little as £3.75 for the first year, (based on Howden Deputy Bonds’ calculation for a person with an insurable capital of £5,000).
Once appointed a deputy will be required to pay the annual insurance bond premium, and a supervision fee (usually around £320) to the Deputyship’s governing body, the Office of the Public Guardian.
Deputies should not worry about finding these costs from their own funds. Deputies are not responsible for any deputy costs, and any monies spent on an application by a third party should be claimed back from the estate of the person who is requiring the deputy, once the Deputyship Order has been granted.
Appointing a professional to act as a Deputy
Many people choose to appoint a trusted professional, often a Partner at a law firm, to act as a Deputy for a loved one or family member. There are a wide range of reasons for why people choose this route, but often it is as simple as removing the administrational burden, pressures and risks associated with administering someone else’s financial affairs.
The Later Life team at Rix & Kay are specialists in Property & Financial Deputy Applications, and regularly undertake applications on behalf of our client’s loved ones, or in appointing Partners of this firm as Deputies in a professional capacity. We always ensure that our clients are assisted by the best qualified, but also the most cost effective, personnel for each aspect of the running of a person’s financial affairs.