14 January 2021
Deputyship – When A Power Of Attorney Is No Longer An Option Part 2
In part 1 of this post, we considered how someone how you can help someone who has lost their ability to manage their own affairs, even if they have not arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney. The solution is to apply to become their deputy.
How Long Does It Take To Be Appointed As A Deputy?
Applying to the Court of Protection to become someone’s deputy is a time-consuming process. From start to finish it typically takes around six months and until a final order is received you will not be able to make decisions on that person’s behalf.
Unless the person has already put direct debits or standing orders in place, this means that their bills cannot be paid until an appointment is made. Once you are appointed as deputy, you will be able to repay yourself for any bills that you pay from your own funds during this time. If you are unable to cover the cost of the bills, it is important that you contact the various creditors to explain the circumstances and make suitable arrangements.
However, the reason the application process is so lengthy is because the court has your loved one’s best interests at the forefront of its decision making. A deputyship application is subject to a much higher level of scrutiny than when someone makes a power of attorney. It is necessary to obtain a report as to the person’s capacity, in a format which is approved by the court.
You must also notify the person about whom the application is made, as well as their family or close friends, about your intention to make the application, following which the court allows them a set period in which to respond with any concerns they may have. Finally, the court will scrutinise your application and your own financial circumstances in order to ensure that you are the most suitable candidate to act as deputy.
One of the key advantages to becoming someone’s deputy, rather than being their attorney, is that you will be subject to a certain level of supervision. This is particularly useful if you have never acted as a deputy or attorney previously, as it provides some reassurance that the decisions you make are appropriate.
A deputy must submit an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian, detailing the exact capital, income and expenditure that has taken place each year. The report does not require you to submit receipts, but you should keep these for your records as it will make completing the report much easier.
The reporting can be onerous, particularly in the first few years, but it serves to protect your loved one from any mistakes that might be made.
The Benefits Of Using A Solicitor
If you are considering applying to become a deputy for someone, our solicitors can help you through the application process and beyond. You may wish to consider applying for a professional deputy to be appointed alongside you or in your place.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, costs are often reduced by appointing a solicitor to help with the application from the outset. Our team is used to making such applications, and we are aware of all the typical hiccups that might occur along the way.
Instructing a solicitor to make the application on your behalf means you can rest assured that the application process will run smoothly and that you will be appointed in the quickest time possible.