Who can apply to be a deputy?
Usually, deputies are close relatives or friends of a person who does not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Sometimes they will be professionals, like a solicitor or accountant. A deputy must always be aged 18 or over. In addition, they must have the skills to make decisions on the person’s behalf, such as in relation to finances if they are applying to be the person’s property and financial affairs deputy. The Court of Protection has the ultimate say in who can be a deputy for a vulnerable person – they consider the deputyship application and if the deputy is suitable, they issue a deputyship order. The deputy can then act for the person.
Can the court appoint more than one deputy?
Yes, if more than one person is applying to be a deputy, then they need to tell the court how they will make decisions together. The options are:
- Jointly – all deputies must agree and act on all decisions together
- Jointly and severally – the deputies can make decisions collectively or on their own
What is a deputy’s responsibility?
A deputy is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the person they act for. In doing so, they must:
- Make sure the decision is in the person’s best interest
- Consider decisions the person made in the past
- Get advice from professionals involved with the person already (e.g., doctors, social workers, financial advisers) and the person’s relatives and friends
- Keep their own property and money separate from the person’s
- Record every decision they make for the person and keep detailed financial accounts for the person to submit to the Office of the Public Guardian in an annual report
What should a deputy not do:
- Take advantage of the person they act for as deputy in any way
- Restrain the person unless it is to stop them coming to harm
- Profit from a decision they have made on behalf of the person
- Stop life-sustaining treatment for the person
- Make or amend a will for the person (unless a statutory will applied for from the Court)
- Make gifts on the person’s behalf, unless authorised by a Court order
- Combine their property and money with the person’s property and money
NB: timescales and fees are subject to change – please ask for details.