19 May How to apply for Deputyship to the Court of Protection?
How do I apply for Deputyship to the Court of Protection? Managing someone’s finances after they have lost capacity
Linda Hall, our Private Client Executive, answers FAQs about how a person can make decisions about your finances, if you no longer have the capacity to do so and why it is best to plan in advance by having a Lasting Power of Attorney, or if you do not have one in place how you can make an application for deputyship. Linda uses an example of a real life scenario to explain the process of applying to become a deputy. If you have any queries please call Linda on 01258 444481 or email her email@example.com .
It is always difficult if someone you care about is no longer able to manage their affairs. This is made more difficult if the person did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA enables a person to manage your financial affairs on your behalf e.g. paying in and taking money out of your bank account, paying your bills etc.
Why do people not have a LPA?
Quite often a person who has always been very good at organising their finances will reject the idea of doing an LPA as they cannot envisage a time when they will not be able to do so. They also worry an LPA will mean they could lose control of their finances. However, the reverse is usually true. By setting up an LPA whilst you have capacity means that you can choose your own attorneys and control when they act for you. Whereas, if there is no LPA in place and you lose your mental capacity to look after your finances, then someone will need to apply to become your deputy. You will not have control over who that person is.
Another reason is the lack of awareness about LPAs or people simply do not understand why they are helpful.
Why do you need a LPA?
If you do not have the mental capacity to manage your finances, someone will have to do this on your behalf. An LPA appoints someone of your choice to do this, or, alternatively, the court appoints a deputy to do this on your behalf. Having an LPA in place prior to you losing your capacity will mean there will be no delay with your attorney being able to manage your finances and it is often more desirable as the person will be of your choosing.
What happens if there is no LPA and you lose capacity?
A person will need to be appointed by the Court of Protection as your deputy to make ongoing decisions on your behalf about your finances. This is achieved by an application to the court for deputyship.
How to apply to become a Deputy?
Close family members or friends can make an application to the court. The following example outlines the initial process:
Mr W owns his own house, living alone following the death of his wife. He is 84 and has always handled the family finances, conducting his affairs privately. He has two sons who have suggested for a while that he should do an LPA. However, he has always been resistant to the idea.
Mr W has been struggling with dementia and following a recent assessment, the family have been advised to make an application to the court because their father no longer has the capacity to make decisions about his own finances.
Mr W’s sons apply to become his deputies, jointly and severally. This means they can either make decisions together or separately, to assist their father with his finances.
They will need to ask the person responsible for assessing their father to complete an assessment of his mental capacity. If this confirms that he is no longer able to manage his own affairs his sons will need to complete an application form COP1 and an information form COP1A which provides details of his assets. They will also each need to complete a deputy’s declaration COP4 .
Certain people need to be notified that an application is being made. If Mr W has any close family that are involved in his care then they should be told and possibly a named professional such as a social worker. The people to be notified will vary according to the circumstances.
The forms will need to be sent into court by post together with the court fee. The court fee is currently £365. The fee is means-tested so a reduction in the court fee can be applied for.
Why use Rutters to help you with applying to become a Deputy?
Unless you are comfortable with completing the forms, the whole process can seem rather daunting. It is also much harder to complete paperwork of a personal nature. It is often easier to seek help with the forms from someone who deals with applications on a regular basis. We know what the court is looking for and so there is less likelihood of the application being rejected. Also, we can correspond with the court electronically, and therefore the process can be quicker.