When the donor has lost mental capacity, they will no longer be able to appoint someone to be their attorney.  In this situation, one or more persons will need to be a court-appointed deputy appointed by the Court of Protection.

The Court of Protection makes decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions for themselves at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’).

The Court can appoint someone to make ongoing decisions for a person who lacks capacity, this person is known as a deputy and they will have a deputyship.

The person who is appointed as a deputy has to be over 18 years of age and can be either a relative or a close friend or is sometimes an accountant, solicitor or representatives of the local authority. The Court can appoint 1 or more person to be a deputy for the same person.

Panel Deputy

The Court can also appoint a specialist deputy (called a ‘panel deputy’) from a list of approved law firms and charities if no one else is available.  If the deputy is a professional they are able to charge for their services, so this can be a more expensive option.

Types of deputy

There are 2 types of deputy:

  • Property and financial affairs deputy
  • Personal welfare deputy

Property and Financial Affairs

The person appointed as a property and financial affairs deputy will need to have the skills to make financial decisions for someone else.  They will be responsible for paying bills, selling property, making investments, etc.

Personal welfare

As the deputy for personal welfare you will make decisions about medical treatment and whether someone is moved into care or not.

The court will usually only appoint a personal welfare deputy if:

  • there’s doubt whether decisions will be made in someone’s best interests, for example, because the family disagrees about care
  • someone needs to be appointed to make decisions about a specific issue over time, for example where someone will live

Joint deputy

There can be more than one deputy and, if there is, the deputies will need to tell the Court how decisions will be made, it will be either:

  • together (‘joint deputyship’), which means all the deputies have to agree on the decision
  • separately or together (‘jointly and severally’), which means deputies can make decisions on their own or with other deputies

Annual report

When you become a deputy, you must send an annual deputy report to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) each year explaining the decisions you’ve made.

Court Fees

The following fees will need to be paid:

  • a fee to apply to be a deputy
  • a supervision fee every year after you’ve been appointed

The deputy may also have to pay to set up a ‘security bond’ before they can be appointed as a property and affairs deputy.

More information on the fees can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Further reading: How should the deputy communicate with the court-appointed deputy or professional attorney.


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