Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection (COP) to manage the property and affairs and/or personal welfare of someone who lacks capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.
If a person does not have a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney, and they lack the mental capacity to make decisions, there might be the need for the COP to appoint a deputy.
A deputy is appointed by order of the COP. The order is the document setting out the Deputy’s powers.
If you have been appointed as a deputy for property and financial affairs, your powers may include receiving income, such as benefit payments, retirement pension, occupational pension, or interest and dividends earned on investments. The order may also authorise you to receive capital, such as money from banks, building societies or other financial institutions held on behalf of the person lacking capacity, and to spend this money appropriately on their behalf.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a statutory framework to empower people to make decisions for themselves as far as is possible and to protect vulnerable people who may not be able to make all their own decisions.
The MCA covers major decisions about health and welfare and property and financial affairs, as well as everyday decisions about health, care and daily spending.
When making decisions, deputies must have regard to the Code of Practice (the 'Code'), which supports the MCA and provides guidance for people - such as family members, professionals and carers - who work with and/or care for adults who lack capacity.
The Code also describes the responsibilities of deputies when acting or making decisions with or on behalf of individuals who lack capacity.
Deputies are supervised by the Public Guardian. They are checked routinely to ensure they are complying with the terms of the COP's order, that decisions made are in accordance with the Code and that they are acting in the best interests of the person lacking capacity.
If the Public Guardian considers that a deputy has not fulfilled their duties, the COP may consider this, and may discharge the deputy and appoint a new deputy in their place.
Being appointed as a deputy can take several months and the costs involved far exceed the costs of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). We advise all our clients to make an LPA so they have the choice and are in control of who would manage their affairs if they can no longer manage them personally.