Elderly Client Services
If a person becomes incapable (lacks capacity) of managing their own property and affairs or personal welfare, for example through dementia or brain injury, and they do not have the benefit of a Power of Attorney; another person will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be that that person’s Deputy. Their Deputy will manage that person’s day-to-day decisions as well as look after their affairs and in the majority of cases the best person to be a Deputy will be a relative, friend or adviser.
Nobody (not even a spouse) has any legal authority to deal with another person’s affairs in the event of that person losing capacity, unless they are an attorney under an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney or they are appointed Deputy by the Court of Protection.
In some cases there is no-one suitable to take on the role of Deputy and if this happens the Court of Protection appoints an Approved Panel Deputy to act on that person’s behalf. Nicola Rostron of Furley Page’s Older and Vulnerable Client team has recently been appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian as an Approved Panel Deputy. Nicola is only one of three Panel Deputies in Kent and the only Panel Deputy in East Kent.
Her appointment followed a detailed application process for which over 600 applications were received and only 64 panel deputies were appointed. The appointment means that Nicola can act as a Deputy in cases where no one close to the person lacking capacity who is suitable or willing to act, where the issues are complex and a specialist should be appointed, where there is family conflict or where there has been financial abuse. Nicola’s appointment reflects the high level of expertise that she and her team have in this area of law.
An application to the Court of Protection for Deputyship involves completing a number of forms setting out the full financial details of the person in need of assistance, a medical report, and details of the proposed Deputy. There is a Court application fee to be paid which is currently £400*. (This figure is subject to change* and we will confirm the correct fee a the time of enquiry.)
The application process takes some weeks to complete but most creditors, nursing homes and utility companies are sympathetic to the procedures involved and will wait for payment as long as they are kept fully informed.