Court of protection lawyer, Chris Green, looks at what is involved in appointing a professional deputy.
If a person loses mental capacity and does not have a power of attorney in place, it may be necessary to apply to the court of protection for a deputyship order.
A deputy is someone who manages the financial affairs of a person who has lost capacity.
A person may lose mental capacity through an age related condition, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, or as result of another debilitating illness or through an accident
In some cases, it may be beneficial to appoint a professional deputy rather than a relative or family friend. For example, appointing a professional deputy might be appropriate where the person who has lost capacity:
(i) has received or is expecting to receive a large sum of money – maybe as a result of a personal injury claim or a medical negligence claim. Where large sums of money are involved the court of protection may prefer to appoint a professional rather than a family member or friend to manage the funds;
(ii) doesn’t have any close family or friends who are able to be appointed as a deputy;
(iii) lives some distance away potential attorneys or there is likely to be a dispute over who should act as attorney; and
(iv) is likely to have complex issues in relation to managing and dealing with their affairs, such as:
- a need to work with IFAs to ensure proper investment and sustainable management of their funds;
- handling the annual reporting and accounting procedures;
- purchasing and potentially adapting a property for their current and future needs;
- overseeing appropriate care plans;
- arranging the preparation and filing of tax returns; or
- liaising and working with case managers and care teams to ensure that their day-to-day life is managed in an affordable, workable and sustainable manner.
Professional deputies are monitored and subject to extremely close supervision by the Office of the Public Guardian and the court of protection. Furthermore, the costs that a professional deputy can charge are regulated by the court.
A professional deputy will have an extensive and comprehensive understanding of how deputyships are dealt with, the procedures of the court of protection, the standards issued by the Office of the Public Guardian, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.