Deputyship: An alternative to Lasting Powers of Attorney, or merely a last resort?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and sadly all too often I come across people who have not drawn up and registered Lasting Powers of Attorney appointing their family or friends to look after their affairs should they become unable to do so when they had the chance. So what options are available if a loved one has lost mental capacity and you need to look after their affairs?

A Deputyship Order obtained from the Court of Protection would be your only option when wishing to help look after a family member or a friend’s affairs.

Deputyship Orders set out strict boundaries as to what you (the Deputy) can and cannot do on behalf of the patient, taking into account their needs. At all times, the Deputy must act in the best interests of the person who has lost capacity.

If you have been appointed as a Deputy, records of the decisions you have made on behalf of the patient must be must reported to the Court of Protection each and every year. Such decisions include paying for holidays or making improvements to their home.

The Court of Protection also requires evidence of the transactions made in the best interests of the patient using their assets. Records, such as receipts, bank statements, letters and reports from health agencies or social services, should therefore be kept and made available for the Court.

Regrettably obtaining Deputyship Orders can be a lengthy and expensive process. The Court of Protection is duty bound to assess the applicant’s suitability to look after the affairs of the person who has lost their capacity. Unlike Lasting Powers of Attorney, there is no guarantee that your application will be successful.

If a family member or close friend has lost, or is beginning to lose, their mental capacity and they have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney, becoming appointed as their Deputy is the only route left available to ensure that they are looked after. By contacting myself, or one of my experienced team, we will be able to advise you as to the best way forward and assist you with your Deputyship application.

We never know what is around the corner, which makes it all the more important to ensure that your loved ones do not have to resort to obtaining a Deputyship Order just so that they receive the care and attention they deserve.

If you haven’t already done so, you should get your “ducks in a row” by ensuring that your Will is up to date and that registered Lasting Powers of Attorney are put in place. Remember: Lasting Powers of Attorney lessen the hardship your loved ones may face when making decisions on your behalf.