What is deputyship? – A Short Guide – Sponsored Post

We are all living longer, so I’m told. At first glance this seems like a good thing but whilst the body may keep going the mind does not always follow suit. Losing mental capacity usually due to Dementia or Alzheimer’s is an increasing problem within the elderly population.

This brings many challenges such as keeping independent, but safe and where that person is best living. Linked to this is running someone’s money, paying their bills and making financial decisions for them.

If a person without capacity does not already have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in place then there is no one who can automatically step in to look after their finances.

Instead, the next of kin or sometimes a solicitor must make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This is a formal court order appointing the applicant as deputy and authorising them to look after the elderly person’s money.

The process of applying for Deputyship can in some cases be complex and lengthy. It starts with obtaining a medical assessment of capacity from a doctor and also includes completing forms about the elderly person’s circumstances and finances as well as a form all about the applicant.

These forms are then sent to the Court of Protection with a fee of £400 (or an application for fee exemption or remission). There are then several requirements to notify interested parties – such as the elderly person themselves and other close family members before the Court will grant the Deputyship Order. The process can take 4 or 5 months to complete and in the meantime the elderly person’s money is effectively in a state of limbo with creditor’s having to wait for payment.

Once the Deputyship Order is made the deputy has the task of collecting in the elderly person’s money, closing their accounts or selling a property and opening a deputyship bank account from which to run their affairs. The Deputy must keep a good record of all financial transactions and is required to report to the Office of the Public Guardian every year.

Deputyship can be difficult to put in place as well as being onerous to run. It is far, far better to plan ahead by setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney. These not only cover financial decisions but can also deal with health and welfare decision making.

This brief intro to deputyships was written by Sian Thompson, Head of Wills and Probate, Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors.  To find out more visit www.simpsonmillar.co.uk or call 0808 129 3320.

January 8, 2013 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: News