I am a Deputy for my mother. Does that mean I can do what I want?
What is a Deputy?
You can apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy for someone if they lack mental capacity. This could be because they have been diagnosed with dementia or they have a serious brain injury or illness which means they can no longer manage their affairs or make decisions for themselves.
There are two types of deputy; Property and Financial affairs deputy and Personal Welfare deputy.
If appointed as a Property as Financial affairs deputy, you will be able to make decisions about someone’s finances such as paying bills and operating their bank account.
If appointed as Personal Welfare deputy, you can make decisions about medical treatment and how that person is looked after. However the Court will usually only appoint a Personal Welfare deputy if there is a dispute between family members about care of the individual or for a specific issue (ie where this person should live).
How to become a Deputy?
To apply to become a Deputy, you need to complete a variety of Court forms. This includes COP1, COP1A or COP1B (depending on whether it is for finances or welfare), COP3 and COP4. The COP3 form is an assessment of capacity form which must be completed by a doctor, social worker or medical professional. The forms can be quite lengthy and complex, therefore you may need to seek advice from a solicitor before submitting the application to the Court of Protection.
What happens when you are appointed as a Deputy?
When you are appointed you will be sent a Court Order which tells you what you can and cannot do as a deputy. Before you can start acting on behalf of someone in respect of their property and affairs, you will need a pay a security bond. This is a type of insurance that protects the finances of the person you are acting for. The amount you pay will depend on the value of the estate and how much of their estate you control.
You must also record all decisions and transactions you have made on behalf of that person and submit an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) every year. You must keep copies of bank statements, contracts for services and tradespeople, receipts and letters and emails about your activities as a deputy.
If you do not keep records and submit annual reports, the OPG may increase the level or your supervision or ask the Court to replace you with a different deputy.
You may also be visited by a Court of Protection visitor to check you:
- Understand your duties
- Have the right level of support from the OPG
- Are carrying out your duties properly
- Are being investigated become of a complaint