Rix & Kay’s Later Life specialists are able to act as Deputies for individuals and this is a service that we provide for many of our clients. We can also advise Deputies on how to exercise their duties and apply to the Court for specific powers, as well as managing affairs on their behalf.
Unfortunately, as life expectancy increases, more people live longer but find that their mental health declines. According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Society, currently there are over 800,000 people with dementia. This is forecasted to rise to over 1 million by 2021. However, those suffering from dementia, or indeed any other loss of capacity, such as due to illness or head injury, should have a package of support, which includes people to help make decisions on their behalf.
We always encourage clients to consider signing a Lasting Powers of Attorney (or LPA), but, where there is no Lasting Powers of Attorney in place and the person concerned is no longer capable of signing one, a Deputyship is the most appropriate course of action.
A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who has lost capacity. As with Lasting Powers of Attorney, there are two types of Deputy, one that can be appointed to administer Property and Financial Affairs and another that can help make Health and Welfare decisions.
The decision as to whom to appoint as a Deputy is a judicial one. The Court will appoint one or more people if it thinks it is in the vulnerable person’s best interests. It is important to note that, unlike with Lasting Powers of Attorney it may not necessarily be a person whom the vulnerable person would have appointed if they had been able to do so them self. The Court will look at a range of factors when deciding who to appoint and may even appoint a professional to act as a Deputy, for instance where the estate is large, complex or if there are family tensions.
Unfortunately, the cost of a Deputyship far outweighs the cost of setting up and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney. In addition, it generally takes much longer. For these reasons, it is always advisable to think ahead and sign a Lasting Power of Attorney. However, where a Deputyship is required our team is able to bring our efficiency and experience to bear in order to keep costs as low as possible.