Court of Protection expert, Chris Green, looks at the role of the Professional Deputy.
If a person loses Mental Capacity and does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in place, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
This would appoint someone to manage their Property and Financial Affairs on behalf of the person who has lost capacity (known as ‘P’). It could be a relative or a friend and the Deputy would then be able to make decisions on behalf of P.
Ordinarily, a person may lose Mental Capacity through an age related condition, such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s, another debilitating illness or through an accident
In some cases, it may be beneficial to have a Professional Deputy appointed rather than a relative or family friend. For example:
(i) where P has received or is expecting to receive a large sum of money as a result of a Personal Injury Claim or a Medical Negligence Claim, the Court of Protection may prefer to appoint a Professional rather than a Lay Deputy to manage the funds;
(ii) where P doesn’t have any close family or friends who are able to be appointed as a Lay Deputy;
(iii) where there are family disputes or where relatives live some distance away from P; or
(iv) where there is a likelihood of complex issues arising in relation to managing and dealing with P’s affairs, such as:
- a need to work with IFAs to ensure proper investment and sustainable management of P’s funds;
- handling the annual reporting and accounting procedures;
- purchasing and potentially adapting a Property for P’s 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 P’s 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.
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 (the underlying legislation on this area of law).