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    What is the Court of Protection?

    PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

    Many of us go through life hoping we will always be able to manage our own affairs, and not wanting to consider the alternative that we, or a loved one, may one day suffer with ill health, or become unable to handle their own personal affairs.

    Whilst measures can be taken to plan for these events (such as making a Lasting Power of Attorney, and making sure your Will is up to date), sadly sometimes it will fall upon a family member to take steps to secure their personal affairs if such plans were not made.  This is where the Court of Protection comes in.

    What is the Court of Protection (COP)?

    The COP makes decisions regarding a person’s finances and welfare, where they cannot make that decision for themselves at that time.

    Applications dealt with by the COP range from the appointment and removal of Deputies, applications for statutory wills or gifts, or making decisions about a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) as well as considering objections to the registration of these documents.

    What is Deputyship?

    Where a person lacks mental capacity and they do not have LPAs in place, Deputyship is the application process to become appointed as the Deputy to manage their personal affairs on their behalf. Usually family or close friends apply to be a person’s Deputy, however in some circumstances a professional Deputy can be appointed.

    The most common form of Deputyship is for property and financial affairs. However it is also possible to make a welfare application in particular situations.

    What is involved in the Deputyship application?

    A number of court forms have to be submitted, which includes a capacity assessment completed by a medical professional.

    The application process can take many months to complete and obtain the final Order. In certain situations, it is possible to obtain an interim Order to deal with an emergency, pending the grant of the final Deputyship Order.

    A court fee is paid on submitting the application, unless an exemption of remission of the fee can be claimed due to the person’s financial circumstances.

    Deputy appointment

    Once the Deputyship Order is obtained, the Deputy’s powers are set out in the Order.

    The Deputy will be supervised in their role annually and must file a report accounting for each Deputyship year.

    The Deputy Standards and Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice set out the responsibilities and duties of Deputies.

    If you need any advice regarding a Deputyship application, or other COP matter, please speak to our highly experienced Wills, Trusts and Estates team, who will be able to guide you through.  We recognise this can be a difficult time for those involved and take a sensitive approach to help you through, providing the expert advice you need each step of the way.

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